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Federal Government
Erin Brockovich Calls For Federal Standard For Chromium 6, Element In Coal Ash Dispute PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 16 August 2016 12:11
Environmental activist Erin Brockovich and the Environmental Working Group have called on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set a maximum allowable level for hexavalent chromium in water.
Then lack of a standard is a major area of contention for well owners near leaking coal ash ponds owned by Duke Energy. The state is using the the federal standard of 100 parts per billion for chromium. State environmental regulators say most wells near coal ash ponds have tested below that level. However, the state issued "Do Not Drink" notices to numerous well owners based on a standard of .07 parts per billion, a standard state scientists from the Department of Health and Human Services say is mandated by the Coal Ash Management ACT.  That level is thought to increase the cancer risk for one in a million people, proved they drink the contaminated water over a 70-year period. The "Do Not Drink" notices were rescinded earlier this year after with state environmental and public health officials concluded water at those levels were safe. 
Brockovich , whose fight over hexavalent chromium contamination in Hinkley, Calif., in the 1990s was made into a movie named after her and starring Julia Roberts, signed a letter with the nonprofit Environmental Working Group calling for a federal standard for hexavalent chromium. 
"We write with deep concern about this continued delay," Brockovich and Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook wrote in the letter. "It is clear that the delay is sowing confusion among state and local regulators, utilities and the public about how much hexavalent chromium is safe in drinking water. This confusion is resulting many Americans’ exposure to unregulated levels of hexavalent chromium, which federal, state and independent scientists agree pose health hazards." 
McCrory Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Reinstate Voter ID for November Elections PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 16 August 2016 11:49
Governor Pat McCrory has formally requested U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to stay a ruling by the Fourth Circuit and reinstate North Carolina’s Voter ID law.
"Today we have asked Chief Justice John Roberts to stay the Fourth Circuit's ruling and reinstate North Carolina's Voter ID law," said Governor McCrory. "This common sense law was upheld by the U.S. District Court. Our Voter ID law has been cited as a model and other states are using similar laws without challenges.
"Allowing the Fourth Circuit's ruling to stand creates confusion among voters and poll workers and it disregards our successful rollout of Voter ID in the 2016 primary elections. The Fourth Circuit's ruling is just plain wrong and we cannot allow it to stand. We are confident that the Supreme Court will uphold our state’s law and reverse the Fourth Circuit."
A formal petition asking the Supreme Court to hear the case will follow this request for a stay.
Federal Judicial Panel Says State Legislative Districts Are Unconstitutional PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 12 August 2016 15:42
The map used to elect the North Carolina General Assembly is unconstitutional because many of the districts are racially gerrymandered, a panel of federal judges ruled. Of the 170 legislative districts, 28 are racially gerrymandered according to U.S. Court of Appeals Judge James A. Wynn Jr. and U.S. district judges Thomas D. Schroeder and Catherine Eagles. The trial was in April.
However, this fall's elections will proceed this year because postponing the election would cause “undue disruption.” But the legislature must redraw the districts in the next legislative session for use in 2018.
Redistricting leaders in the House and Senate, Rep. David Lewis of Harnett County and Sen. Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County, said in a statement that their attorneys are reviewing the ruling. After the legislature approved the districts, the U.S. Department of Justice signed off on them in a process called “preclearance.”
“We are disappointed in the district court’s opinion, which contradicts the Obama Justice Department’s preclearance of these maps and rulings from the N.C. Supreme Court upholding them as constitutional,” Lewis and Rucho wrote. “However, we are relieved for voters that the district court did not disrupt the current election that is already underway. Our attorneys are currently reviewing today’s ruling and evaluating next steps.”
The lawsuit was filed in May 2015, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an Alabama case that a lower court should reconsider whether legislators in that state had weakened the influence of minority voters by packing them into districts.
The opinion says that it should not be read to imply that majority-black districts are no longer needed in the state, and that majority-black districts could be drawn using traditional criteria.
Feds Clear DHHS Of Criminal Wrong Doing In No-Bid Contracts PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 12 August 2016 15:36
Federal prosecutors have delivered a finding of criminal wrongdoing after their investigation into expensive contracts for consultants at the state Department of Health and Human Services according to the Raleigh News and Observer.
John Bruce, the acting U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and David A. Bragdon, a federal prosecutor in the criminal division, informed attorneys in a letter dated Aug. 10.
The probe began after state audits accused Angeline Sligh, a former manager who supervised the replacement of North Carolina’s Medicaid billing system, of wasting more than $1 million and hiring people with whom she had personal connections. It was not immediately known if Sligh’s actions were covered by the letter, which went to attorneys for former DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos, Joe Hauck, who was a senior adviser to Wos and had worked with her husband’s company, and the Washington, D.C., consulting firm of Alvarez & Marsal.
Alvarez & Marsal was hired on a no-bid, $3.2 million contract that later was expanded to more than $9 million.
The U.S. attorney’s office demanded records related to Wos, Hauck, Alvarez & Marsal and Les Merritt, a former state auditor. 

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