Coal Ash, Fracking and Zombies

DSC04248(1)          Moving to Asheville, NC after my abrupt leap from Eugene, Oregon to be closer to my parents has been kind of like jumping out of a burning house second floor window and finding I am still in mid-air. After three months of transferring licenses, offices, insurance, mailing addresses, banks, schools, packing, unpacking, repacking, unpacking…  Now there’s VOTING~!

Oregon, yall are lucky! You get the LUXURY of having your ballots mailed TO YOU, as well as a VOTER’S GUIDE! Here in NC, I had to figure out where to go. Went online and it gave me the name of a local elementary. As I was heading out the door and told my landlady/friend where I was going, she said our voting place was not at the elementary school until the last day. I really needed to go to the fire station close by. Good thing she told me! I didn’t want to wait in lines on the last day so I went on the first day it was open. I am glad at least that NC has a couple of weeks of early voting!

My landlady/friend gets the paper every day so I am vacuuming up local stories like a, well, like a vacuum cleaner! But they don’t feel so much like “my issues” or “our issues” like I did back in Oregon. Not yet anyways. In Oregon, I was comfortable voting because I had basically educated myself on the issues for years. Here in North Carolina, I have been gleaning what I can along with all the thousands of tasks necessary to relocating.

Oregon’s prime time stuff has included: burning grass seed fields, (which after decades of activism (including a wee bit by yours truly), has almost all been eradicated); cutting old growth forests; burning slash at Seneca Sawmill Biomass Plant; spraying neocortinoids that kill bees; and the use of GMOs. Wheras, NC has its own bulls in the bull ring. When I was still in Oregon back in the spring, I read about the Duke Energy coal plants and their coal ash ponds breaching their leaky, old, never-should- have-been-built-that-way-anyways ponds.

From nearly 3000 miles away, the air was a little clearer, so to speak.  From Eugene, I could clearly see that if you have coal ash leeching into your streams and rivers, ESPECIALLY YOUR DRINKING WATER, and it’s killing goodness knows how much aquatic life, you should clean it up and fix the problem so that it never ever happens again, RIGHT AWAY….right????

Duke contributions pie chart

Now, just because the Governor of NC Pat McCrory worked at Duke Energy for 29 years and his run for office was sponsored by Duke Energy for $98,000, there couldn’t possibly be any conflict of interest when it came to expecting Duke Energy to change its evil ways, eh?

HERE: you can read about it more:

By the way, I’ve had friends who work for Duke Energy, called Duke Power when I was growing up in Huntersville, which happens to be a very successful, very wealthy company, which hires thousands of people at pretty good paying, though pretty scary jobs, which can bring your body into contact with radiation and other nasty substances. I can understand not wanting to ruffle the economic feathers of so many folks…almost 28,000…by forcing a company to spend some of its precious dollars on protecting the public from contaminated drinking water! Right?!

A law got passed that not only has Duke been generously allowed years-YEARS!- to clean up the coal ash mess, we’re even just talking only SOME of the mess, not all of it. They have 15 years to clean up and close their coal ash sites, which, to their mind means includes capping, not removing coal ash or sealing the leaky bottoms! Which means the coal ash can sit in the site and potentially leach into the ground water. But, the sites would then have nice caps to keep them warm on frosty nights!

Hey…see that Duke Energy coal plant on Lake Julian? We live just a 2-3 miles up the hill from it! And yes, it has a few coal ash ponds.

Gerrick Brenner, with Progress NC Action, lead a press conference Thursday in Asheville calling on Gov. Pat McCrory to 'come clean' about ties to Duke Energy. Angie Newsome/Carolina Public Press

Down near where my brothers live in and near Charlotte:

“The Riverbend site is the primary drinking water source for about a million people in the Charlotte metropolitan area, according to Gaskins (Rick Gaskins, executive director of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation,) . “A catastrophic failure like they had up at Dan River is a real risk,” he said. Coal ash ponds along the Catawba River are dramatically bigger than the Dan River ash pond, which held about 30,000 tons of ash — one-tenth the size of the coal ash impoundment at the Marshal Steam Station on Lake Norman north of Charlotte, which is linked to the Catawba River, he said.”

I’m quoting this article:

Can you say “Arsenic in the drinking water?”

“All 14 (WITH 33 COAL ASH PONDS) of the unlined coal ash impoundment sites (ACROSS NORTH CAROLINA) are leaking, leading toxins such as arsenic, chromium, mercury, lead and boron to leach into groundwater systems, according to environmentalists.” (same article from the link just above.)

AH…wondering where we were going to bring in the Zombies? Mwahahahahaha!

In Haiti, Zombies have been a part of the culture for decades, if not centuries. Believed to be brought back from the dead by a sorcerer and turned into a slave, Zombies were thought to have no will of their own.  A few scientists have theorized that a bokor, the Haitian priest or shaman, gives the person a concoction including a powder with tetrodotoxin (TTX), a powerful and frequently fatal neurotoxin found in the flesh of the pufferfish, and a powder such as datura, a hallucinogen.

Arsenic, chromium, mercury, lead and boron…yum! But which kind of zombie do these chemicals create?

Haitis’ zombies are considered victims, slaves doing their bokors’ bidding. Whereas, in US film culture, Zombies are terror machines, chewing up human flesh in a mindless sociopathic rampage through town and country.

So, let’s see: The fellows (and women) who are NOT holding Duke Energy’s feet to the fire AND are setting aside the health and well being of let’s see…a few million people people living in NC…Uh…I don’t think I am going to be voting for those folks. Well, unfortunately the Governor isn’t running right now, darn! But, he is stumping around the state for companion Republicans Thom Tillis and Sen. Richard Burr, (who is in line to be intelligence chairman in a GOP-led Senate.)

“According to the Center for Responsive Politics’ database, Duke Energy’s political action committee cut its contributions to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee over previous election cycles. So far this cycle, Duke has given the DSCC $10,000. That’s down from $11,000 in 2012, and it’s a sharp reduction over the last mid-term elections in 2010, when the company gave the DSCC $22,500.”

“At the same time, Duke Energy’s PAC has reportedly contributed $30,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee so far this election cycle — a level of giving by the company that’s held steady for every cycle since 2006.” (See article cited in link just above.)

ANd then, there’s FRACKING, supported by the Republican legislature headed by Thom TIllis (and a handful of Democrats)! Oh Yeah! And, make it a crime to reveal the fracking ingredients!! What we want is more earthquakes right? Let’s see, we want MORE polluted ground water, more earthquakes, more wilderness and forest animals to have to put up with hours and days and weeks of extremely LOUD vibrations that can travel for miles as well as the BRIGHT LIGHTS beaming all night long for weeks, while the earth is pumped full of an undisclosable-by-law cocktail of chemicals guaranteed to make your insides glow… ( It’s Rolling Stone…they’re cool, right?

Fracking cocktails to make your insides glow and your eyes shine like laser beams, plus a little coal ash to bring out that nice Zombie pall on your skin, equals the new North Carolina!~Woohoo!

In fact, there seem to be so many Zombie events, I think the chemicals in the water are already high! Or, it could be a case of if you can’t fight ’em, join ’em! Be prepared for the future! Here in Asheville, I’ve seen listings for Zombie racing on foot, Zombies floating down the river, and Zombie picnic downtown for families St and I haven’t joined them yet in physical presence, but in spiritual, hey! We’ve been Zombies on Bikes a couple of times in Eugene and I thought the best part was the shouting scary things at people. Quite cathartic AND liberating!

“I want to eat your brains! Brains! Brains! More brains!” yelled or groaned over and over at strangers is something I don’t do on a daily basis, but I’m telling ya, you gotta try it!

Maybe if these guys (and women) who are into fracking and coal ash leakage without taking responsibility would just admit they want to eat our brains and that they really are zombies themselves, (the US film industry variety, not the Haitian slave variety,) then we could have an honest dialogue about where their values truly lie. Certainly not in public health! Heaven forbid! Economics is their religion, not the love-thy-neighbor-and-his-or-her-drinking-water variety or the we-are-all-in-the-same-boat variety.

Will the people choose differently? Or, not? I don’t want my representatives to eat my brains, or to create more earthquakes or poison our water with their permissive laws. As the population increases, resources will be strained to support everyone. We need to put LESS stress on the forests and the fields, not more. We need to pull back our vicious plundering of Nature. We need to clean up the mess and restore, renew, replenish the source of our supplies.

Do you want Hollywood Zombies in charge of our environment?  What will it take for us to raise our heads buried in the sand, and take back the fields and rivers and forests?

Will you vote?

DSC09365     ROCK THE VOTE- for your viewing pleasure!

PS I realize that the sources I quote are mostly from progressive or environmental media types but I know I’ve read about this stuff already in mainstream AP stories only I was too impatient to scroll past all the stories that popped up first on google search!


Unpave Paradise

Today’s earth is covered in miles upon miles of pavement. Just picture all that lovely dirt, dry, barren, no worms, no microbes. It is dead, parched and lonesome, waiting for a tiny glimpse of sky, of rain, of sunlight. Always condemned to being in the dark, never watered, never warmed by sun rays. No creepy crawlies to walk upon it or squiggle through it, scratching its itches, or tickling its tender parts. No seeds bursting through it, gleaning fertile nourishment from it, growing upwards into life.

What a sad, abandoned, lonely life the earth beneath pavement is condemned to. But wait, there are humans afoot, with the power to change the fate of this neglected parcel of earth. They are using jackhammers!

Cracking, breaking, busting the pavement into pieces! LIBERATION! A giant sigh escapes from the lips of the earth….aaaah! I can feel the rain again on my skin. The worms burrow little tunnels through my humus. My itches are being scratched. I am lonely no more!

In the Eugene Weekly released today, 1/31/13, explaining that the local electrical company should prorate the new storm water fees based on impermeable surfaces, rather than a flat fee, suggesting that prorating the new fees “might encourage the tearing up of some concrete parking areas to be replaced with permeable surfaces. Architects would have a financial justification for designing eco-friendly parking areas.”

Chicago is going to tear up and replace lots of alleys with permeable materials to filter water before it pollutes Lake Michigan further.

Permeable parking lots are lighter in color, like putting on a white t-shirt on a hot day instead of a dark tshirt, which means less holding in heat, which means less contributing to global warming.

Googling “permeable parking lots” found on the first page : EPA Edison Research Facility in Edison, NJ, University of Rhode Island, Luther College in Iowa, North Carolina State University.

Get out your jackhammer, let’s UNPAVE PARADISE!