Roger Dick's "rat pack" were out in full force at yesterday's URRC meeting (which tries so hard to pretend it's not a shill for the Yadkin takeover clique). The pretense which justified press releases and more media than have ever before attended one of these meetings was the release of the report "River of Opportunity" by Central Park NC's consultant Michael Shuman. It's hard to say the report is newsworthy, when it's nothing more than a retweaking and repackaging of theories we've heard before, theories which in fact, have not been used to create jobs but rather to drive jobs away. I'll admit the State could profit by taking over Alcoa's project, but the State could profit by taking over any private business. Is that what we do in the U.S.? I know, I know, it's not a "takeover" it's "recapture". Except that the deadline for recapture passed six years ago. (see Beating a Dead Horse - State Takeover Attempt)
What is newsworthy is the fact that this report, which unabashedly promotes State takeover of the Yadkin Project, was paid for with public money: a $100,000 grant from the U. S. Commerce Department and $20,000 from the URRC. $120,000 of public money to spiff up old theories and put on a media show. That's expensive by anyone's standards.
I was reminded, not by the report itself, but by media reports, of the false claim that Easley, before Perdue, also favored the State taking over the Yadkin Project. All Easley did was ask for a study of the impact licensing the Yadkin Project would have, questions now being answered by ardent takeover supporters' own in-house report. SB 1046 was passed and funded in 2008, having been sponsored by none other than Fletcher Hartsell. But the study was never presented. Curious what became of it.
Also presented at yesterday's URRC meeting was a report mandated by another of Fletcher Hartsell's bills, on State ownership of land submerged under navigable waters. Hartsell introduced that legislation after the Department of Administration threw out the Yadkin Riverkeeper's legal petition. Other than the report's misinterpretation of Constitutional Law, it isn't much. It basically says "North Carolina Does Not Track Lands Submerged Under Navigable Rivers or Know the Extent of Private Claims." For those who never take "no" for an answer, however, it could be a preamble to further legislation, if not extensive court battles. Hartsell asked the Attorney General for an opinion on riverbed ownership in 2011 and the Attorney General declined.