Associated Press

Coal Ash is Focus in Duke Energy’s $478M Rate Increase Bid

The nation’s largest electric company is fighting to persuade regulators that North Carolina consumers should pay 15 percent more on average, including nearly $200 million a year to clean up the toxic byproducts of burning coal to generate power. Consumers, the state’s attorney general and the state’s utilities consumer advocate are digging in ahead of hearings starting Monday. Charlotte-based Duke Energy Corp.’s requested $478 million passes along the full cost of cleaning up its coal ash pits. The rate increase would affect customers of Duke Energy Progress, the subsidiary that operates in much of eastern North Carolina and around...

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Chemical Company’s Unreported Spill May Lead to Waste Ban

North Carolina regulators say they’re suspending and may revoke a chemical company’s key permit after it didn’t report the spill of an unregulated compound. The Department of Environmental Quality said Thursday it is moving to revoke The Chemours Co.’s permit to discharge wastewater from operations at its Fayetteville plant into a neighboring river. Regulators say the discharge ban could come in 60 days because the company failed to report a spill last month of a precursor of the chemical GenX. The agency said this week it was considering fining the Wilmington, Delaware-based company for failing to report the spill....

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Cooper School Funding Panel Led by Outgoing Blue Cross CEO

The outgoing chief executive of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina will lead a panel created by Gov. Roy Cooper to make recommendations on complying with landmark court rulings over public school funding. Cooper announced Wednesday the commission’s membership, with Blue Cross CEO Brad Wilson as chairman. Wilson has announced his retirement from the health insurer and his successor has been named. Cooper says the commission seeks to fulfill a 1997 ruling by identifying resources so all children can have an equal opportunity to obtain a sound basic education. The panel is expected to work with an...

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Ex-UNC Player’s Estate Sues ACC, NCAA Over Concussions

Representatives of a former North Carolina football player’s estate are suing the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA, saying they ignored the dangers of concussions and it led to Ryan Hoffman’s death. Sandra LaMountain and Noah Hoffman brought the 39-page lawsuit on behalf of Ryan Hoffman’s estate and filed it Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Greensboro. They allege negligence, breach of express contract and unjust enrichment. They argue that both groups failed to protect and promote the safety and well-being of the players, and breached a contract with the players by failing to properly educate and warn them...

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Civil Rights Attorney Running for N Carolina Supreme Court

A longtime civil rights attorney who successfully sued in striking down North Carolina legislative redistricting maps is running for the state Supreme Court next year. Anita Earls is executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. She announced plans Wednesday at state Democratic Party headquarters to run for an eight-year term in 2018. Earls would run for the seat currently held by Justice Barbara Jackson, a Republican. How judicial elections will play out next year remains unclear. The legislature approved a law this fall that cancelled the May primaries for judicial races, setting up one election for each...

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Special Master Offers Draft Maps for N Carolina Legislature

An outside expert appointed by a federal court to help draw some North Carolina legislative districts that judges worry remained unconstitutional has suggested changes. Stanford University law professor Nathaniel Persily filed Monday his preliminary House and Senate plans. The special master also requested formal responses from Republican legislative leaders who originally drew the boundaries and from voters who successfully sued over them. The judges wants Persily’s final proposal by Dec. 1. The judges have said four districts redrawn last summer by GOP legislators still appeared to preserve illegal racial bias, so Persily said he redrew compact replacements for them....

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Fitzsimon Leaving NC Policy Watch to Spread Effort Elsewhere

The founder of a liberal-leaning think tank that’s developed into a media outlet following North Carolina state government is leaving his job to try to replicate the effort in other states. North Carolina Policy Watch Executive Director Chris Fitzsimon said Monday he’s going to work for what’s called “The Newsroom,” which seeks to expand nonprofit news operations based on Policy Watch’s model. His last day at Policy Watch will be Wednesday but Fitzsimon says he’ll continue as a writing contributor. Fitzsimon was previously a WRAL-TV reporter and later an aide to then-House Speaker Dan Blue. He led the Common...

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Female Professor Sues UNC-Chapel Hill for Sex Discrimination

A lawsuit brought by a female geography professor accuses UNC-Chapel Hill officials of gender discrimination and retaliation for raising concerns of sex and racial discrimination. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports 23-year faculty member Altha Cravey filed a complaint against the university and Chancellor Carol Folt, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Kevin Guskiewicz and Geography Department Chair Michael Emch last week, seeking back wages and benefits, promotion and other fees. The lawsuit says Cravey has been denied promotion to full professor, despite male professors with similar or lesser credentials achieving promotion. Cravey says she’s also advocated for...

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ACLU Opposes North Carolina Sheriff Handling Immigration

The North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is asking federal officials to reject an application from the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office to help enforce immigration laws. Local media outlets report that ACLU policy director Sarah Gillooly has written the Department of Homeland Security opposing the application by the sheriff’s department to resume enforcement of federal immigration laws. The sheriff’s office previously had an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Justice Department sued Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson in 2012, saying his office routinely targeted and discriminated against Latinos. A federal judge rejected the lawsuit,...

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N Carolina Fracking Meeting Called Off by Absences

A member of a recently retooled panel regulating North Carolina’s fracking industry says its first meeting has been canceled after two members said they would not attend. The state Oil & Gas Commission had scheduled an organizational meeting Thursday in Sanford. An attempted organizational meeting last month had also been canceled. The Department of Environmental Quality said Wednesday the meeting would not happen because of a staffing vacancy and three other environmental panels were meeting Thursday. Commissioner Jim Womack had said Wednesday the commission would meet anyway. But Womack said in an email early Thursday that two members said...

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