Archive for November, 2011

The N.C. General Assembly may consider fracking this Sunday in a special session, according to a email from the Center for Community Alternatives.

The SB 709 bill allowing fracking was passed last year by the general assembly but Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed it.

The bill may be under consideration for a veto override, would allow both fracking for natural gas (currently illegal in N.C.) and off-shore oil drilling.

No legislative agenda has been posted, but the email said fracking consideration is likely because many legislators will not be present. Some Republican legislators may hope that this will increase the likelihood of passing such a bill.

Also on the agenda may be a repeal of the Racial Justice Act, which attempts to help close the disparity between blacks and whites receiving the death penalty. Black victims are 2.5 times more likely to receive the death penalty in North Carolina according to a Michigan State University study.


Voters in Durham County approved a half cent sales tax that will be used to fund transit improvements and a light-rail transit system.

The tax will not take effect unless Orange and Wake counties also approve a similar measure.

If the other counties enact a similar tax, bus service would be expanded and a light rail line from Durham to UNC will be built.

A commuter rail line would also be built from downtown Durham to eastern Wake County.

For more information, see the Daily Tar Heel and the News and Observer.

Even the youngest of Chapel Hill’s residents will now be carrying on the town’s image of being environmentally focused.

Officials from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ sustainability committee are considering a program to compost food at local schools.

The committee conducted an audit at Estes Hills Elementary School last week to see how much and what types of compostable trash students throw away.

The audit aimed to see if the district can collect the 4,000 pounds of trash it would need to generate each month to join Carolina Dining Services and local restaurants in a program that composts food waste.

Based on a November audit, one school’s kitchen made just 650 pounds of compostable trash, not enough to make collection cost-effective.

To collect enough waste, the schools are now looking past the kitchen — and into the cafeteria.

See the rest of the article at the Daily Tar Heel.

Tomorrow is election day in Chapel Hill and many candidates have made sustainability a chief concern for their campaigns.

The North Carolina Sierra Club chose to endorse Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Donna Bell, Jim Ward, Lee Storrow and Jason Baker, according to a Daily Tar Heel article.

Jason Baker and Donna Bell also both listed sustainability as one of the most pressing issues facing the town, according to the Daily Tar Heel voter guide.

The Town Council is an important voice in sustainability that has decided issues such as Jordan Lake water allocation and home energy efficiency improvement funding.

To learn more about the candidates and the issues facing the town, also take a look at Indy Week’s endorsements.

Occupy Durham and Raging Grannies

Occupy Durham and the Raging Grannies protested the proposed Duke Energy rate increase Wednesday.

People start to gather outside Durham City Hall.

Many at the meeting were from the Occupy Durham protest group.

About 30 minutes before the official start of the meeting, the crowd got larger. About 70 people were in attendance at this point.

Gary Phillips, a Weaver Street realty broker in Carrboro, supported the protesters.

The Raging Grannies sang protest songs about the rate increase.

A Raging Granny hat closeup.

Protesters against the Duke Energy rate increase filled the council room and clapped to support the Raging Grannies.

Well spoken appeals against the rate increase received standing ovations.

Attend the 7 p.m. Utility Commission Hearing in Durham, which will be held in the Durham City Hall Council Chambers at 101 City Hall Plaza.

The meeting will focus on Duke Energy’s proposed rate increases.

Duke Energy is seeking an 18.6 percent rate increase for residential electricity customers and 14 percent for businesses. This will be on top of a 8 percent increase since January 2010 and 5 percent increase in fuel surcharges in September.

According to a Duke Energy press release, the rate increase is necessary to recover $4.8 billion in infrastructure investments.