Category Archives: Local News

Carteret County News-Times reporting that Pivers Island NOAA Lab may close.

Mike Shutak reported in the Thursday edition of the CNT as follows:

President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2014-15 budget request has been presented to Congress for approval.  This request includes a proposal to close the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab on Pivers Island.

Ciaran Clayton, director of NOAA’s Communications and External Affairs, confirmed the proposal.  She said in an email to the News-Times Wednesday the lab has conducted valuable fisheries and coastal science for more than 100 years.

“However, this aging facility requires infrastructure repairs and improvements exceeding agency budget resources now and for the foreseeable future,” she said.  “The president’s FY2015 budget request addresses this challenge by proposing closure of the lab.  The proposal requires congressional approval.”

The complete CNT article can be read HERE.

Strassel at WSJ’s Potomac Watch on Kay Hagan

From the Wall Street Journal piece by Kimberley Strassel, HERE, on our own Senator Kay:

The scientific formula goes like this: Another day + Another ObamaCare disaster = A New Kay Hagan.

Back in 2008, North Carolinians were introduced to Bipartisan Kay, a hope-and-change candidate who argued that Senator Elizabeth Dole was a lackey for a partisan George W. Bush.  “It is time for someone to reach across party lines,” explained Bipartisan Kay.  “Voting 92% of time with the president . . . doesn’t work here in North Carolina.”  She won.

By early 2009, ObamaCare already was working its weird science, producing within a few months the All-In-For-Obama Kay.  The freshman senator embraced the president’s partisan bill, provided a crucial Senate vote, promised two dozen times that those who liked their plan could keep it, and explained that the law would create jobs.  All-In Kay lasted quite a while.  As recently as August she was insisting that there were “a lot of positives” in the Affordable Care Act, and that she’d “be honored” to have President Obama campaign for her re-election in 2014.

Then came the great ObamaCare meltdown of October.  Overnight, the North Carolina senator’s office became home to Frustrated (And Not My Fault) Kay.

All in all, a delightful piece, worth reading.

Senator Kay Hagan Beats A Well-Worn Drum

Andrew Stiles has a new piece up at the online National Review, HERE, about Senator Kay Hagan’s efforts to stir up her base before the fall elections in order to add even more shillings to her $6.25-million campaign war chest.  An excerpt:

The Democratic senator from North Carolina doesn’t yet know who her Republican opponent will be this year, but in the meantime she seems to be running almost exclusively against Charles and David Koch, the libertarian billionaires whose well-oiled political machine inspires frantic fundraising appeals in the New York Times editorial pages.

“Kochs don’t like me,” Hagan wrote in a January 29 campaign e-mail.  “You won’t believe what the Koch brothers are doing now,” a message from last week reads.  “Spoiler Alert: The Kochs did it,” she explained on December 19.  “The Koch brothers are desperate.”  They won’t stop waging their “Koch attacks.”  Hagan’s campaign sends out a couple of these per week.

Governor McCrory opposes appealing ultrasound ruling

That’s the title of THIS article in the News-&-Observer.  An excerpt:

Gov. Pat McCrory opposes appealing a federal judge’s ruling that struck down the requirement that women seeking abortions be shown a narrated ultrasound just before having the procedure, his office said Saturday.

McCrory thinks appealing the ruling would be expensive and is satisfied that the bulk of the 2011 abortion law was upheld by the judge.

“The heart of the legislation remains intact, and patients will still receive access to important information and ample time needed to make decisions,” McCrory is quoted as saying in the statement his office released. “After extensive review, I do not believe costly and drawn out litigation should be continued concerning only one provision that was not upheld by the court.”

“Moral Monday” Protesters Walk

This just in:

One day after a Wake County district court judge acquitted five of the 57 demonstrators arrested during a May 20 protest at the N.C. Legislative Building, prosecutors announced that all cases pending from that Monday event would be dismissed.  The assistant district attorneys who tried the cases Tuesday announced the dismissals on Wednesday.

Prosecutors have been increasingly stymied in their efforts to win convictions because the crowds demonstrating against the Republican agenda during the spring and summer grew larger and larger, making it difficult to build narrow cases against individuals on trial.

During court hearings this week, Jeff Weaver, the chief of the General Assembly police force, could recall generalizations about the crowd gathered in the N.C. Legislative Building rotunda on May 20 but had difficulty remembering specific actions of the individuals arrested.  Police video from that night failed to capture the necessary details, and prosecutors had no other courtroom exhibits to jog the chief’s memory during the trials.

But the cops will do a better job next year, right?  The full article, from the News & Observer, is HERE.

Amazon Begins Collecting NC Sales Tax On February 1st

WSOC-TV in Charlotte is reporting that Amazon will “be required” to collect sales taxes from NC customers beginning February 1st (Hat Tip to the Daily Haymaker).

The question is, why?  It seems unlikely that they were forced to do so by the McCrory administration, so it may be that they have established a warehouse and shipping hub in the state (a “nexus”) that would trigger the applicable conditions under which the SCOTUS has ruled that states may require an online vendor to collect state sales tax.

In any case, bummer.

Certificate Of Need No Longer Needed (and it never was)

One of the issues that came up early in my career with the North Carolina DHS (Department of Human Resources, now the Department of Health & Human Services, DHHS) was the implementation of North Carolina’s new Certificate Of Need (CON) law, enacted to comply with a Federal mandate.  The idea was that health care providers ought to have to convince the State planners that there was a genuine need for any new and substantive (meaning expensive) health care capacity (such as new hospitals, new equipment for existing hospitals, etc.), else those providers in their reckless, willy-nilly way would spend large amounts of money on unwarrented facilities and equipment.  If the customer (patient) base did not expand fast enough to absorb this new spending, the providers would jack up their rates on the existing customer base in order to pay for their new toys, thereby creating a hardship on those patients.

An example that was often cited to support this view was that of medical imaging equipment (MRI, CAT), as it was very expensive at the time and hospitals were competing with each other to see which one could acquire the equipment first.

Most of the accountants in the fiscal section of DHS (myself included) thought that this was a ploy to stifle competition and just another form of rent-seeking behavior on the part of the existing health care providers, particularly the large hospitals and the BCBS establishment.  We also knew that anything that reduces competition will eventually result in higher costs.

And that is exactly how it has played out.  As was stated by John Locke Foundation reporter Jon Sanders in a comprehensive JLF piece last October:

Four decades’ worth of data and research into CON laws have produced a recurring theme in the research literature: CON laws fail to lower health care costs; if anything, they raise them.  In 1987 Congress repealed the mandate, and subsequently 14 states (but not North Carolina) ended their CON regimes.  North Carolina hosts one of the most restrictive CON programs in the country, regulating 25 different services.  While patients and rural communities are negatively impacted by CON restrictions (especially the poor, elderly, and those with emergencies), existing hospitals and medical service providers reap the benefits of CON laws insulating them from competition.  Fewer than one-fourth (23 out of 100) of counties in North Carolina have more than one hospital.  Seventeen counties still have no hospital.

The 2013 General Assembly began to address this issue, but no legislation was enacted.  This year, the CON law should be repealed, or extensively revised in order to promote competition rather than suppress it.

Jon Sanders summarizes the issue in this video, just over two minutes long:

UPDATE
Law professor Timothy Sandefur, guest blogging at The Volokh Conspiracy, just posted a lengthy article about how CON laws can be made to apply to many business endeavors other than the provision of medical services.  His focus is mainly on states that require CONs for moving companies, but there are many other examples including taxi companies in New York City.  Sandefur’s piece, lengthy but informative, is HERE.

Bad Omen For NC’s Voter ID Bill?

Karen Langley of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports HERE on Friday’s ruling by a Pennsylvania court judge that struck down the State’s new Voter ID law on the grounds that it unduly burdens those that do not have one of the prescribed forms of identification.  A key excerpt, slightly edited for brevity:

The Republican-controlled Legislature in March 2012 passed the law, one of the strictest in the nation, over objections from Democrats, who, along with other critics, said the measure would suppress voting by poor people, minorities, and elderly residents.  The law requires all Pennsylvania voters to show one of certain forms of photo identification — a driver’s license or passport, but not welfare cards or the many college IDs that lack expiration dates.

The legal challenge on behalf of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, the Homeless Advocacy Project, and a number of voters was met with an initial Commonwealth Court ruling declining to stop the law for the 2012 election and then a state Supreme Court order that the lower court reconsider.  The law’s full requirements have been blocked at each election since its passage.

In a determination issued Friday morning, the judge found that a lack of compelling governmental interest in imposing the requirement — the state acknowledged at the start that it knew of no cases of in-person voting fraud, the kind addressed by voter ID — could not justify the law in the face of “overwhelming evidence” that hundreds of thousands of qualified voters lack acceptable documentation.  “Certainly a vague concern about voter fraud does not rise to a level that justifies the burdens constructed here,” the decision states.

The ruling concludes that the law unnecessarily restricts the types of acceptable identification, leaving out welfare cards, school district employee cards, gun permits, and Pennsylvania college IDs that lack expiration dates.  Noting that military retiree IDs and most student IDs lack expiration dates, he went so far as to conclude: “The voter ID law as written suggests a legislative disconnect from reality.”

We should not read too much into this ruling, as it was in a state court rather than a Federal court, and it may yet be reversed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  However, the Pennsylvania law has a lot in common with the North Carolina legislation, so we must hope that our law has been more carefully crafted so as to withstand this sort of litigation, as such lawsuits are already underway.

AFP Calls Out Senator Hagan On Promoting ObamaCare

The Washington Free Beacon put up a piece yesterday noting the multiple television ads that Americans For Prosperity (AFP) is putting up targeting Democrats that went out of their way to support ObamaCare.  This is the North Carolina version, targeting Senator Kay Hagan, who is being opposed by Greg Brannon and others for her Senate seat in the primary and general elections this year.

AFP’s website is HERE.  And by the way, when President Obama visited North Carolina yesterday, Senator Kay Hagan chose to remain in Washington even though the Senate had no votes scheduled.  I guess the expression “run, Kay, run” now means that she will hot-foot it away from Obama at every opportunity.

Senator Burr Wants to Consolidate Federal Departments

Along with Senate co-sponsors James Inhofe (R-OK) and Dan Coats (D-IN), Senator Richard Burr want to consolidate the current Departments of Commerce and Labor into a new Department of Commerce and the Workforce.  A part of the legislation would also move the Small Business Administration (SBA, currently a stand-alone agency) into the new Department.

Burr’s bill is aimed at saving money, and in addition to combining Commerce and Labor, it would also transfer the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) out of the Commerce Department and into the Department of the Interior.

Full details are in the News-&-Observer article, HERE.

The MAC-LAC Teleconference

MillPondPost_LogoThe latest noteworthy development in the continuing controversy over Torch Energy’s proposed Mill Pond wind turbine farm was the teleconference meeting earlier in the week of Governor McCrory’s Military Affairs Commission (MAC) with the General Assembly’s Legislative Affairs Committee (LAC).  The Military Affairs Commission was established earlier this fall, on August 1st, with the goal of making North Carolina the “most military friendly state in the country”.

The MAC-LAC teleconference covered a number of agenda topics, with pending wind farm legislation being among them.  John Droz was on the line, presenting the numerous concerns of the Carteret County citizenry, with a focus on the military aspects and the implications for Cherry Point in particular.  In addition to John Droz, several elected officials spoke in opposition to the proposed project, including Senator Norman Sanderson, Representative Pat McElraft, Carteret County Commissioner Robin Comer, and US Representative G. K. Butterfield (Democrat, 1st District).

The next meeting of the MAC is scheduled for Tuesday, February 18, 2014.

Mill Pond Matters at the County Commissioners Meeting

MillPondPost_LogoThe only news relating to the “Mill Pond” wind energy project that transpired at tonight’s regular meeting of the County Commissioners was a decision to hold another Special Commissioners meeting on January 2nd in the Morehead City Civic Center at 6pm to hear public comments on the suggestion to enact a 60-day moratorium on the issuance of any permits for wind energy facilities in the County.  The purpose of such a moratorium would be to give the Commissioners time to review and possibly revise the existing ordinance governing these types of facilities.

CtyCommissioners_16Dec2013Another development was the election of a new Chairman, which takes place annually at the December meeting.  Tonight, Commissioner Jonathan Robinson was elected to take over from Greg Lewis, the current Chairman.  Commissioner Robin Comer was elected to assume the position of Vice-Chairman.

Left to right, in the above photo, are Commissioners Terry Frank, Elaine Crittenton, Greg Lewis, Jonathan Robinson (Chairman), Robin Comer, Jimmy Farrington, and Bill Smith.

County Commissioners Deliberate TSO Moratorium

MillPondPost_Logo

Tonight at 6pm the Carteret County Commissioners hold their regular monthly meeting in Beaufort.  Among the items on the agenda, I am told, is the election of a new Chairman, and, in what seems to be a process that is being deliberately “slow-walked”, a vote on establishing a two-month moratorium on permit issuances for any wind turbine farms in the county while the Commissioners and other elected representatives ponder the ponderables.  So, be there or be square.

Thom Tillis Speaks In Favor Of NC Immigration Reform

When the NC General Assembly meets in short session, as they will next spring, it is mostly about “housekeeping” matters and rarely takes up any legislation that is controversial and may therefore prove to be time consuming.  However, when NC House Speaker Thom Tillis appeared before the annual meeting of the NC Farm Bureau earlier this week, he told them that the session should focus on, among other things, immigration reform.  According to the report by the N&O:

Tillis invited Farm Bureau members to “give us some ideas of more things we need to do around immigration policy and help me communicate across this state why effective immigration policy is so critical and so important to this industry.”

He added, according to Democrats who tracked his remarks: “You all know what we need to do. … You go out there and talk about it. Start talking about smart immigration reform. You’re going to help us get out there and actually get it done.”

For the full article, click HERE.

Special County Commissioners Meeting on the TSO

MillPondPost_LogoThe Carteret County Commissioners are holding a special meeting at 10am this Friday (12/13/2013) to consider amendments to the county’s Tall Structures Ordinance.  The meeting will take place at the usual venue, which is on the 2nd floor of the newest county office building in Beaufort, and the public is welcome.

The commissioners’ deliberations on potential modifications to this ordinance come in the wake of interest by Torch Energy of Houston, TX in locating a large wind turbine farm (about 50 turbines) on about 7000 acres of Weyerhaueser land just north of Morehead City and just east of Newport.

For more background information on this project, and on wind energy:

A condensed version from local physicist John Droz of some modifications that the Commissioners will likely consider on Friday is HERE.

The extensive slide presentation on Torch Energy’s proposed “Mill Pond” project, also authored by John Droz, is HERE.

We Must Not Split Our Vote Next May

On the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots’ (CCTPP) Facebook page, Ken Lang posts a link to THIS article in the Charlotte Observer on the Republican candidates vying to be Kay Hagan’s opponent next fall for her US Senate seat.  The CCTPP views Greg Brannon as the most conservative of the candidates who have been in the race for a while, but one thing is becoming clear.  Conservatives need to avoid splitting their votes, because that will ensure the election of Tillis, the non-conservative.  The primary is next May, so it will soon be time to choose.

Continued Interest In The Proposed Torch Energy "Mill Pond" Wind Turbine Farm

MillPondPost_LogoNo one has been more vigilant than John Droz about informing the Crystal Coast citizenry of the implications associated with the wind turbine farm being proposed for the area around Mill Pond, just north of Morehead City and just east of Newport.  This morning, before a small invitation-only crowd assembled in an Atlantic Beach hotel, John went once more into the breach, presenting a store of information to the attendees on wind energy in general and on the Mill Pond project in particular.  In attendance were some notable elected officials, including state representative Pat McElraft, Carteret commissioners Robin Comer, Jonathan Robinson, and Jimmy Farrington.  Commissioners Elaine Crittenton and Bill Smith had attended one of John’s previous presentations.

Representative McElraft confirmed that Torch Energy has yet to file an application for the project, but that we should persist in our efforts to strengthen the Carteret County and Newport ordinances governing the permitting for tall structures, as any provisions enacted after an application has been filed may not apply to the applicant.

Help Out In Opposing The Newport "Mill Pond"

John Droz notes that, if we are to adequately protect the interests of our coastal citizenry in the “Mill Pond” wind farm fight, we need to stay focused on that campaign until it is over.

After the meeting this past Tuesday at Fort Benjamin Park in Newport, many concerned and considerate people asked what they could do to help.  John’s answer is that we need to get better organized to prevail against our more-experienced, politically-connected, and well-financed opposition.

Toward that end, the help of several committed and capable volunteers is urgently needed.  If you think you can help, contact John by e-mail (aaprjohn@northnet.org) to let him know what relevant skills you have, and how much time per week you can dedicate to this cause.

He needs volunteers who have any of the following skills:

  1. are good organizers
  2. like to contact people by phone and/or email
  3. would like to be a formal interface with our representatives
  4. have good connections with various local organizations
  5. have an interest in health matters
  6. have an interest in the tourism business
  7. have an interest in environmental issues
  8. are retired military
  9. like to publicly speak
  10. have public relation skills
  11. have superior writing ability
  12. have a technical background and can help in that area
  13. enjoy doing research
  14. are good at investigative work
  15. like doing fund raising
  16. anything else you think would assist in this effort

If you can respond to this important need, be sure to include your phone number, and remember to tell John how many hours per week you can commit to help.

Newport Meeting On The "Mill Pond" Wind Farm (UPDATED) (UPDATE #2)

At the meeting held on Tuesday night (11/26/2013) in Newport to discuss the Mill Pond wind farm project, presenter John Droz spoke to a packed house at the large meeting room in the Fort Benjamin Park building.  The meeting was attended by about one hundred people, the vast majority of whom seemed to be very skeptical about the merits of the project as proposed by Torch Renewable Energy.  Droz did a thorough job, given his time limits, of highlighting the most important issues related to the proposal, particularly as they might relate to or inform any laws or regulations promulgated by Carteret County and the town of Newport.  For more information from Droz on this project, go here.

Although they were grossly outnumbered, opinion-wise, Penny Hooper and husband Mark were two brave soles who spoke in support of the Torch Energy project.  The Hoopers engaged the group as a couple who are concerned about our coastal environment, and who embrace the Climate Change (nee Anthropogenic Global Warming) dogma.  For more on the views and perspective of the Hoopers, Penny Hooper may be reached at pjhooper@ec.rr.com.

Several local dignitaries were also in attendance, including County Commissioners Bill Smith and Elaine Crittenton, State Senator Norman Sanderson, and Pine Knoll Shores mayor Ken Jones.  During the discussion period after the formal presentation, many citizens rose to either ask questions of John Droz or to convey their thoughts and opinions.  Among those joining in the discussion were Commissioner Crittenton and Senator Sanderson.

To view the presentation in its entirety, John Droz has made it available at THIS LINK.

New Meeting Scheduled Regarding Newport Wind

Another meeting has been scheduled to inform the public about the issues attending the Torch Renewable Energy wind farm (now termed the Mill Pond project) proposed for a large area east of Newport and north of Morehead City in Carteret County. The meeting will feature a presentation (entitled “Mill Pond = Mill Stone”) by Morehead City physicist and independent energy expert John Droz, Jr., who will outline some technical, economic, and environmental concerns relating to the proposed project, after which there will be a Q-&-A session.  The meeting is free and open to the public, and is to be held this coming Tuesday evening, November 26th beginning at 6:30pm.  The venue is the main building at Fort Benjamin Park, located at 100 McQueen Avenue in Newport.

This will be of interest to any citizen who is concerned about regional issues to include the Crystal Coast tourism business, the continued operation of Cherry Point MCAS, the coastal environmental consequences of industrial wind energy, the health of Mill Creek residents, the cost of electricity in eastern NC, and numerous others.

In order to get the most out of the presentation and the discussion, potential attendees are urged to familiarize themselves with the fundamentals before the meeting by reading the materials available on this new webpage.

Update #3 on the Newport Wind Project

Friends of Newport:

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Please read this article  from the Saturday edition of the Carteret County News-Times about the Carteret County Planning Board meeting scheduled for Monday, 11/18/2013.  This is to be a Public Hearing on their wind energy law (Tall Structure Ordinance). Citizens should take this opportunity to express their views — just as was done so well at the Newport Town meeting.  For a point of reference here are my suggestions where the County ordinance could use improvements.

I apologize for the delay in getting this to you, but I have been out of town for the last three days.  Due to that I was unable to attend the Newport Town Council meeting on Thursday night — but prior to the meeting I had sent the town representatives a written summary of what were advisable measures to approve in their proposed Tall Structures Ordinance.

I’ve spoken to several people who were there, and this writeup is a compilation of their comments (which have somewhat of a different slant than the local paper’s story did).  The attendees I spoke to all praised the Town Council for allowing citizens to speak freely at this well-attended meeting, and not having time constraints.

There appeared to be at least two representatives of the developer at the meeting.  Rocky Ray (the developer’s vice president) made a very typical sales pitch as to why he thought this project would benefit the community — e.g. that there would be some jobs.

A lot of the meeting revolved around citizen responses to his marketing claims.  For example, he was asked how many permanent jobs would there be? [he said 4]; were they guaranteed? [no]; was this the net number of jobs? [no]; and so on.

Some people spoke about the potential impact on Cherry Point jobs, and the likely reduction of tourist-related employment to the Crystal Coast [he did not factor these into his job projections].

Others supported a Property Value Guarantee (which was in the proposed ordinance) [he made no comment — maybe because he hadn’t seen the details].

Still more attendees asked for specifics about the environmental tests that would be done [no specifics were provided].

One person asked who would be doing such environmental tests, and Mr. Ray said they would hire someone.  The citizen replied that the community wouldn’t expect to get comprehensive and objective environmental testing done by an employee of the developer.

Some civilian employees of Cherry Point noted that these 500± foot tall structures (almost directly in a flight path) could have serious impact on airplane navigation — particularly under adverse weather conditions, or when an aircraft has mechanical problems.

Mr. Ray told the Council that the Ordinance’s half-mile setbacks were unreasonable, and that this would likely force the developer to locate almost all of their turbines in the County’s part of the property.  Naturally, he wanted them to be less.

{Note: this is very standard fare, as in every community in the world that wind developers are trying to access, they always object to every worthwhile protective measure proposed, claiming that it is unreasonable.  Of course this exaggerated “unreasonableness” is only from the developer’s perspective, never from citizens’.  The standard tactic is that wind developers then use these fabricated “harms” as a ploy to get other concessions in subsequent negotiations.}

After the public had their say, the Town Council voted unanimously to pass their Tall Structure Ordinance.  They acknowledged that since this was a very technical matter, that all the advisable protections did not get incorporated into this version.  A meeting on December 12th was set up for a public hearing about further improvements to this bill.

My personal conclusions:

1 – It was very good that this Ordinance was passed unanimously. Hopefully the new Council members will have this citizen perspective.
2 – It was disappointing that the Ordinance did not include all of the protections that had been well-documented as being advisable.
3 – It was good that the Council set up a public hearing on December 12th to discuss the upgrades needed.
4 – It was excellent that quite a few citizens objected to sales puffery, and presented well-founded concerns.
5 – One Carteret Commissioner was in attendance, and I’m hoping that he will see that the County learns from this experience.

The last time I looked this Ordinance was not posted on the Town’s website.  When it is I will go through it and send out a specific commentary on what improvements are suggested.

THANK YOU to the citizens who are taking time out of their busy lives to keep up and this matter, and are speaking up about it.  Let me know if there are any questions.

Regards,

John Droz, Jr.

"Stay On Target" Fundraiser for Sen. Norm Sanderson

Those who attended the Second Amendment Celebration and fundraiser today (Sunday, November 17, 2013) for state Senator Norm Sanderson did so during a beautiful day at the gun store and shooting range run by Sure-Shot Gunsports off Adams Creek Road near Harlowe.  The range, run by Rusty and June Bryan, offered visitors a family-oriented experience and facilities to include piston and rifle ranges from 25 to 500 yards (many with covered shooting positions), and a five-stand sporting clay range.

Another wind farm proposed. This time next door to Cherry Point

mill_pond_windfarm
shadow
November 11, 2013  —  Some, including us, have long felt that Downeast is the “red headed stepchild at the family reunion,” so to speak, in North Carolina politics. Raleigh has for decades catered to the timber companies that have stymied development while shipping our resources, and the profits therefrom, out of state and now in recent years, out of the country. In recent months we have seen the departments of Defense and Agriculture trying to tie up thousands of acres of land in Eastern North Carolina to prevent development to its highest and best uses. Now Downeast is being hit with another “anti-development” scam called “green energy.”

We say “scam” because the fundamental essence of green energy is that it cannot stand on its own economic legs and relies on taxpayer subsidies and then the result of the energy produced by wind mills and solar farms cost the rate payers more than conventional generated energy, thus adding to the cost of doing business and thereby handicapping economic growth and development.

While the proposed Pantego Wind Farm flies under the public’s radar another huge project is now being proposed in Carteret County near Cherry Point Marine Air Station. It’s being called the Mill Pond facility by its developer, Torch Renewable Energy, LLC. That link will take you to a document related to a November 5, 2013 meeting held in Wilmington (yes, in Wilmington but we don’t know why it was scheduled so far away) but it was covered by the Carteret News-Times.

You will note in the presentation materials that Torch says they have satisfied the concerns of the Marine Corps about the windmills being in the flight paths of planes from Cherry Point Air Station. Reliable sources tell us there is a simple reason Torch can claim it has satisfied the military’s concerns…local Marine commanders have been order to “sit down and shut up” about the proposal. And we suspect the top brass in the Pentagon have also been told by the White House to stand down on anything “green” related.

But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the problem. Page 12 of the report shows the project to be within the FAA’s designated air space of Cherry Point. But the real issue can be seen on Page 18 where part of the project is within the flight space where structures as tall as these windmills would be constructed. Now in fairness to Torch, they say they have “moved about 10 structures” out of the red area of the map on Page 18, but that still leaves the project immediately adjacent to the approach path of jets landing at Cherry Point. Blue area on the map. Gives a new meaning to the cliché “close enough for government work.”

One retired Marine/Navy aviator tells us: “this is the stupidest idea I’ve seen in many years. To put wind turbines right next to a glide path to one of the most critical installations on the east coast defies common sense. On a clear day if everything is working correctly there probably will not typically be a major problem. But let a low ceiling move in and a pilot be hit with equipment malfunction and we could have a disaster on our hands. I once had to make a hard landing that if I had been using this runway at Cherry Point with a low thrust engine problem I would have hit one of these things because I did not have the power to follow the normal approach. Why would we subject our aviators to these risks?”

Indeed. Why would we even be considering such a thing?

Wind and solar generated electricity depend on being on government welfare. They can’t make it work on their own with government subsidies..

John Droz, Jr., a well-known and highly respected expert on wind energy, says that the project does not make sense from many other perspectives. He writes that North Carolina’s public policy related to “renewable energy” is in critical need of review and revision. He points to the Wise Energy website for a wealth of documentation, with specific proposals for addressing the issues related to such projects. You can keep abreast of what is happening with Mill Pond and other energy related issues by signing up for the AWED newsletter at aaprjohn@northnet.org.

Our military expert also says that retired military personnel need to step forward and advocate for the aviators’ interests because political correctness from Washington has stifled the local active duty leadership from saying what they actually believe about this project. But he assures us that his contacts at Cherry Point are extremely concerned about the proposal.

Update 2: Newport Wind Project with Map

Please read this new excellent article about the Newport industrial wind project.
Torch_MillPond_Map_Small
For the first time we can see specific map as to where this will be. See attached. Turbines will be clearly visible from Highway 70, well into Morehead City.
Independent studies elsewhere have concluded that such industrialization decreases tourism (some samples are here, and here, and here, and here, and here). The Crystal Coast is heavily dependent on tourism dollars, so who is taking this cost into account?
—————
I like the fact that the article focused on the military impact.
What most civilians do not know, is that military personnel (including base commanders) have been specifically ordered not to speak out publicly against any wind energy projects. So, when the Cherry Point base commander says little (if anything) about the military issues resulting from the Newport project, it does NOT mean that there are no problems!
The fact is that local military personnel are preparing an internal report that identifies about a half dozen areas of concern — but this document will remain confidential, and not be available to the public.
In my opinion, the best way we can protect our military bases is to have Town, County and state regulations that provide comprehensive protections to citizens and the environment, near any wind project. I have passed on effective words to Newport and Carteret officials.
The second best way is to have retired military personnel do the candid talking that active military have been prohibited from doing. Anyone who is interested in helping with that, please contact me.
————
This article also provided a link to the slide presentation made by the developer, last week in Wilmington. There is a wealth of misinformation in that marketing material.
To give you an idea how to translate this self-serving material, I’ve written up comments based on a quickie review — see attached pdf.
As always, let me know any questions.
john droz, jr.
PS — If there are others who you think would benefit from being on this list, please let me know the specifics. If at any time you’d like to be taken off, please let me know that too.