The DuPont Forest Festival, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22, has been a long time in the making. The chemical conglomerate DuPont’s initial 1956 purchase of land for a silicon manufacturing plant in Cedar Mountain proved the beginning of a journey that would preserve one of Western North Carolina’s most treasured natural places for the future.
At the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s 13th annual Elected Officials Reception on Aug. 16, local politicians acknowledged that the intensity of recent city and county government scandals have sometimes pushed other issues to the side.
The N.C. General Assembly cut funding for landslide mapping in 2011, a decision area officials and scientists attribute to a combination of revenue shortfalls and lobbying by development interests. The state is now allocating $3.6 million for a new mapping project in the wake of multiple landslides this summer.
In November, North Carolina voters will choose whether to add the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife to their constitution. If the amendment passes, the state will join 21 others, including all of the South save Florida, Maryland and West Virginia, in explicitly affirming this right.
Local legislators and environmental advocates share their thoughts on which state budgetary and policy decisions could have a big impact on WNC’s environment in the coming fiscal year and beyond. They cited issues including the state’s response to novel contaminants like GenX chemicals, the budget for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and funding for the Clean Water Management, Parks and Recreation and Farmland Preservation trust funds.
State Rep. Chuck McGrady asked Asheville City Council for its cooperation in helping the region’s water and sewer systems work together. But the air was fraught with vestiges of battles between McGrady and Asheville in recent years over the issue.
At its Feb. 27 meeting, Asheville City Council could call for a national assault weapons ban and hear from Rep. Chuck McGrady about his latest plan to regionalize water and sewer systems.
On Tuesday, Feb. 20, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners heard a presentation by state Rep. Chuck McGrady about a new committee to study regional water and sewer districts.
Buncombe County commissioners identified combating opioid abuse and increasing teacher salary supplements as top priorities. But is legal marijuana a viable strategy for achieving those goals, or merely smoke and mirrors?
“Julie cannot be trusted to represent us on City Council. What devil would she secretly attempt to cut her next deal with?”
“We eventually quit working with Julie [Mayfield] after it became clear to us that it was more important to her to protect her relationship with the ‘good’ Republican on the environment, Rep. Chuck McGrady, than to fight really hard for the city of Asheville.”
State representatives Chuck McGrady, Tim Moffitt, and Nathan Ramsey have filed a bill to take control of Asheville’s water system and transfer it to the Metropolitan Sewerage District.
A proposed compensation settlement of $57 million by the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County for the proposed Asheville water system merger was officially endorsed on Friday by the MSD board’s planning committee, and moves to the full board on December 12.
In the furor over the fate of the city’s water system, one important aspect has escaped notice: in July, Henderson County is due to transfer an 137-acre property near Bent Creek to the city of Asheville. Lawyers for both acknowledge the deadline, but are staying mum about its relation to the current dispute.
The state’s handling of environmental contamination surrounding the former CTS of Asheville plant on Mills Gap Road is about to get some concerted attention in Raleigh, thanks to a special committee chaired by Rep. Tim Moffitt. See a detailed timeline of the long-standing CTS case after the jump. Photo by Katie Damien.