Headline Roundup: Duke Energy Water Resources Fund, Foxx On Charlotte Airport Control, More
Duke Energy today announced it's creating a $10 million Water Resources Fund in the Carolinas and neighboring states. The money will be used to improve waterways downstream of Duke energy operations. Of that money, $1.5 million is earmarked for the Dan River basin, where Duke spilled 39,000 tons of coal ash in February. The fund will also support educational efforts that increase public awareness protecting water resources.
Duke energy is giving an addition $500,000 to a park in Danville, VA, which was affected by Duke's dredging of coal ash from the Dan River
Environmentalists responding to the announcement say the most important thing Duke can do to improve water quality is to move coal ash to lined storage areas away from rivers and streams.
Foxx Says Local Leaders Need To Resolve Airport Dispute
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says local leaders should work to settle a dispute over control of Charlotte-Douglas Airport. Speaking for the first time since he went to Washington, Foxx tells the Charlotte Observer the situation in "an unnecessary mess."
The city owns the airport, but last year the state legislature established a regional commission to oversee it. That commission's authority has been blocked by a judge until the Federal Aviation Administration decides who should run the airport.
Foxx wouldn't give a timeline for when the FAA could have a ruling on the matter.
NC Legislative Committee Considering Medicaid Reform
A North Carolina legislative oversight committee considering Medicaid reform meets today in Raleigh. The state House and Senate this year approved different bills that deal with how Medicaid pays for medical expenses. The House up to this point has preferred shifting expenses from the state to groups of doctors and hospitals as opposed to private insurance companies. Senate Republicans want to create a new state department for Medicaid, removing it from the Department of Health and Human Services. Governor McCrory opposes a separate department, but says he wants to change the Medicaid system.
Two Charlotte Doctors Charged With Drug Trafficking
Police have charged two doctors in the Charlotte area with trafficking in controlled substances. Samuel and Ben Hobbs, the owners of Clear View Eyecare in Charlotte and Matthews, are accused of prescribing the pain killer hydrocodone to patients and then asking them to return to the practice with the filled prescriptions. Police say the two men would then remove and keep some of the pills.
Surge In NC Registered Voters
North Carolina now has more that 6.5 million registered voters. That's a 30 percent increase over the past decade, roughly double the growth in the state's population.
Part of the surge is attributed to the ease and popularity of same day registration, which was passed into law in 2007. That option is no longer available. The General Assembly struck down same day registration last year.
The State Board of Election data also shows fewer North Carolinians are identifying as Republican or Democrat. The number of unaffiliated voters has surged. Ten years ago fewer than a million voters identified as unaffiliated. Today, unaffiliated voters now make up around 27 percent of the electorate.