April 16, 2014 • Ethics and Accountability, • Public Safety
Raleigh, NC - Governor Pat McCrory announced a plan today that would address coal ash ponds and strengthen environmental and health regulations. The initiative would result in the conversion or closure of all the state’s coal ash ponds, close loopholes in state law to strengthen the state’s ability to regulate coal ash ponds, eliminate special exemptions for utilities and increase regulatory authority to ensure dam safety and protect water quality.
“Since taking office in January 2013, my administration has discovered a number of long-standing shortcomings in state law that hamper our ability to adequately protect public health and the environment in addition to dealing with emergencies when they happen,” said Governor McCrory. “We need to close these loopholes and give our regulators the tools they need to solve this more than 60-year-old coal ash problem.”
The plan focuses on three main areas: the conversion or closure of coal ash ponds in North Carolina; increasing pond and dam safety; and protecting drinking and groundwater quality. The governor’s proposed budget for FY2014-15 will also include funding for 19 additional positions to help enforce environmental protections.
The governor proposed statutory authority that will address the long-term disposition of coal ash as well as the conversion or closure of all 33 of the state’s coal ash ponds. The site-specific closure plans, the preferred method of state regulators and the Environmental Protection Agency, will use data from comprehensive environmental assessments of the 14 coal-fired facilities in North Carolina, including the identification and potential testing of drinking water wells near ash ponds.
Governor McCrory’s plan would also strengthen dam safety laws by removing loopholes for coal ash ponds, requiring utilities to submit operational and emergency-action plans to the state. It would also tighten notification requirements for dams and wastewater spills and require increased inspection schedules for all North Carolina dams.
Finally, the plan would close loopholes that currently exempt utilities from landfill requirements when ash is removed from impoundments. The plan would also apply the state’s solid waste protections for landfills when coal ash is used as a structural fill in large-scale projects. These projects can be a preferred disposal solution for coal ash provided they are engineered correctly and monitored appropriately. The governor’s proposal would give state regulators the authority to ensure the projects are structurally and environmentally sound.
The governor called on legislative leaders to work with his administration to address the issue of coal ash when they convene in Raleigh for the upcoming short session.
“I know that the public and the General Assembly share our concerns about coal ash, and I ask them to work with me to make sure we tackle this problem head-on to address long-standing problems caused by the ash basins,” said Governor McCrory.
Raleigh, NC - Following up on a promise that he made to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Shane Page while visiting him in the hospital after he was injured in the line of duty in early January, Governor Pat McCrory hosted Page and other members of the elite Violent Criminal Apprehension Team at the Governor’s Mansion for lunch and a meeting today.
“I am happy to see that Shane is doing well, and it was great to meet such an impressive and talented group of men and women,” said Governor McCrory. “I asked that they keep our administration abreast of the dangers and major issues they see on the rise in North Carolina. Tackling addiction and drug abuse in particular is very important to me.”
Officer Page was shot while serving a warrant in South Carolina in early January. The Violent Criminal Apprehension Team was created in 2006 to deal with especially violent criminals.
Raleigh, NC - Governor Pat McCrory has ordered all North Carolina flags at state facilities in Craven County to be lowered to half-staff on Friday, April 4, 2014 to honor the life of New Bern Police Officer Alexander E. Thalmann who was killed in the line of duty.
“We will be eternally grateful for the price Officer Thalmann paid while protecting the citizens of his community,” Governor McCrory said. “We should never forget the risk North Carolina law enforcement officers undertake on our behalf each day they pin on their badge."
Officer Thalmann's funeral will occur Friday afternoon in New Bern and the burial will be in Washington.
Raleigh, NC – Governor Pat McCrory issued the following statement today after learning of the death of New Bern Police Officer Alexander E. Thalmann:
“My heart is broken for Officer Thalmann and his loved ones,” said Governor McCrory. “Officer Thalmann had just begun his public service career and the loss of his life in the line of duty is tragic. Our first responders are true heroes and we shouldn’t let a day go by without praying for their safety and thanking them for their valued service to North Carolina.”
Thalmann, 22, was shot on Friday evening. He had been with the department since August 2013.
Public Assistance Available for Counties, Electric Co-Ops
March 31, 2014 • Public Safety
Raleigh, NC – Governor Pat McCrory announced today that federal financial assistance is available to help nine central North Carolina counties recover some of the costs associated with the March 6-7 winter storm. That storm brought ice, sleet, freezing rain and high winds to the Triad and Virginia border counties.
“The last winter storm wreaked havoc across the state, with the Triad and Virginia border counties receiving the brunt of damages,” Governor McCrory said. “We want to thank our federal partners for recognizing the seriousness of the winter weather North Carolina has seen this year, along with the help it will provide those still dealing with damage. This federal assistance will help the most impacted counties and electric co-ops recover some of the funds used to restore power, remove debris and repair damaged facilities.”
Governor McCrory requested the federal funds to defray storm response and recovery costs. The counties eligible for public assistance are Alamance, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Granville, Guilford, Orange, Person, and Randolph Counties. All counties are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
Damage assessment teams estimate the ice storm response and recovery cost state and local governments $26.9 million. The federal money could pay up to 75 percent of the costs of emergency protective measures, repairs to local electric cooperatives infrastructure and tree and limb debris removal.
Seeks Funds to Defray Cost of Storm Debris Removal
March 25, 2014 • Public Safety
Raleigh, NC - Governor Pat McCrory requested a federal disaster declaration today to help nine central North Carolina counties recoup some of the costs associated with recovering from the most recent winter storm.
On March 6 and 7, a half-inch of ice, sleet and freezing rain fell on top of several inches of snow throughout the Triad and along the Virginia border counties. Heavy winds compounded the winter storms effects, toppling thousands of trees and knocking out power in much of central North Carolina for several days. Local, state and federal emergency management staff spent last week surveying storm damage to determine if there was enough destruction to warrant possible federal aid.
The damage assessment teams found enough damage to request assistance for Alamance, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Granville, Guilford, Orange, Person and Randolph counties.
"We’ve seen more than our fair share of winter storms this year, but this snow and ice brought down more trees and power lines than any other storm we’ve experienced in the past decade,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “I commend our local emergency management teams and first responders for their tremendous response during the storm. Now it’s our turn to help communities recover from the devastating costs associated with this ice storm.”
Governor McCrory has requested the federal funds to defray storm response and recovery costs in three categories. Damage assessment teams estimate the ice storm response and recovery cost state and local governments $26.9 million.
If the governor’s request is approved, federal money could pay up to 75 percent of the costs of emergency protective measures, repairs to local electric cooperatives infrastructure and tree and limb debris removal. Initial reports estimate between 750,000 to 1 million cubic yards of debris needed to be removed from personal and public properties in the nine requested counties.
Program will feature breakout sessions and speech by Kenneth Morris Jr., descendant of abolitionist Frederick Douglass
March 19, 2014 • Ethics and Accountability, • Public Safety
Raleigh, NC - In 2013, Governor Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that increased criminal penalties for human trafficking and related crimes. It also preserved the state’s human trafficking commission. He also signed a law adding human trafficking to the list of criminal convictions that require registration under the s ex offender and public protection registration program.
"We must do all we can to prevent vulnerable people from falling victim to these acts of evil and rightly punish offenders," Governor McCrory said.
One of the aims of S.B. 683 is to create a safe harbor for victims of human trafficking and for prostituted minors.
In order to raise awareness of human trafficking, the Governor’s Office of Community and Constituent Affairs, the Department of Administration's Council for Women, AT&T and the Governor’s Crime Commission will host a day-long event to help address this injustice.
The event will take place on March 31 from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Hope Community Church, 821 Buck Jones Road, Raleigh, NC 27606. Middle school, high school, college students and adults are encouraged to attend.
Kenneth B. Morris Jr., great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass and the great-great grandson of Booker T. Washington, will be the keynote speaker. Morris is the founder of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, an abolitionist organization that considers human trafficking the 21st-century equivalent of slavery.
For more information or to register, please visit the Council for Women site. Registration is open until March 26 or when the venue reaches capacity.
Raleigh, NC - Governor Pat McCrory issued the following statement today in wake of the events that took place in Burke County yesterday.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the victims of yesterday’s tragic events in Burke County, especially U.S. Forest Service Officer Jason Crisp and his service dog. I also want to thank our first responders and law enforcement officers for their courage and valor in responding to these devastating events. Ann and I will continue to pray for the victims and their families as they deal with this horrible situation.”
Governor McCrory is currently traveling to Burke County to spend time with U.S. Forest Service Officer Jason Crisp’s wife and the first responders involved in yesterday’s events.
Raleigh, NC - Governor McCrory has signed a State of Emergency declaration and waived weight and hours of service restrictions on truck drivers to expedite response to today’s winter storm. The storm has impacted much of central North Carolina.
“While we have become very experienced in winter storm response during the past two months, each storm is different and can require different resources,” Governor McCrory said. “Today we’re seeing more power outages than we had during any of the previous storms this year, and we need to do all that we can as quickly as we can to help those in need.”
As of 2 p.m., there were more than 460,000 power outages statewide with about one-fifth of the state reporting storm-related power failures. The hardest hit areas were Davidson, Randolph, Alamance, Guilford, Davie, Orange, Granville and Person counties. Numerous counties across the Piedmont reported downed trees blocking roads. Emergency operations centers are open in Randolph, Guilford, Orange and Alamance counties.
Executed under the Emergency Management Act, the State of Emergency declaration enables the governor to mobilize the necessary resources to respond to a storm. It also is the first step in seeking federal funds to help defray the cost of providing emergency services, clearing debris and repairing any damaged public infrastructure.
The executive order waives restrictions on weight and the hours of service for fuel, utility and other truck drivers that may be working to deliver supplies, restore services or clear debris in response to the winter storm. The waiver is in effect for 30 days.
“Our residents, as well as our medical providers, businesses and livestock industry, need heat and electricity. These declarations are one way that the state can help to ensure that goods and services are restored as soon as possible,” said Governor McCrory.
State emergency management officials recommended people follow these winter safety tips if they have lost power. • Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them. • Do not use charcoal grills or generators indoors; the fumes can be deadly. • Turn off electrical appliances that were on when the power went off to avoid a power surge when the electricity is restored. • Use flashlights. Do not use candles; they greatly increase the chance of having a fire in your home. • Limit your activities to no more than two rooms and close off unneeded rooms. • Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors and cover windows at night to keep cold air out and warm air in. • If you have well water, fill up tubs and buckets with water so if the power goes out you still have water. • Remember to eat and drink regularly. Food provides the body with energy to produce its own heat. • Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. • Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Layering clothes keeps you warmer than a single layer of heavy clothing. Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration and subsequent chill. You can find updated weather and road conditions on the http://www.readync.org/ web site or with the new ReadyNC mobile app. The free app is available for iPhones and Android devices in the AppStore and Play Store; search “ReadyNC.”
WHEREAS, due to the impact of the March 6-7, 2014 winter storm, vehicles bearing equipment and supplies for utility restoration and debris removal, carrying essentials such as food and medicine, transporting livestock and poultry, and feed for livestock and poultry need to be moved on the highways of North Carolina; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 166A-19.20, I declare a limited state of emergency exists in North Carolina as defined in N.C.G.S. §§ 166A-19.3(6) and 166A-19.3(19) due to the power outages and other impacts across the State as a result of this recent winter storm. The emergency area as defined in N.C.G.S. §§ 166A-19.3(7) and N.C.G.S. 166A-19.20(b) is the State of North Carolina; and
WHEREAS, the uninterrupted supply of electricity, fuel oil, diesel oil, gasoline, kerosene, propane, liquid petroleum gas, food, water, livestock and poultry feed, and medical supplies to residential and commercial establishments is essential before, during and after the winter storm and any interruption in the delivery of those commodities threatens the public welfare; and
WHEREAS, the prompt restoration of utility services to citizens is essential to their safety and well-being; and
WHEREAS, under the provisions of N.C.G.S. § 166A-19.30(b)(3) the Governor, with the concurrence of the Council of State, may regulate and control the flow of vehicular traffic and the operation of transportation services; and
WHEREAS, with the concurrence of the Council of State, I have found that vehicles bearing equipment and supplies for utility restoration, carrying essentials and for debris removal must adhere to the registration requirements of N.C.G.S. § 20-86.1 and 20-382, fuel tax requirements of N.C.G.S. § 105-449.47, and the size and weight requirements of N.C.G.S. §§ 20-116 and 20-118. I have further found that citizens in this State may suffered losses and will likely suffer imminent further widespread damage within the meaning of N.C.G.S § 166A-19.3(3) and N.C.G.S. § 166A-19.21(b); and
WHEREAS, pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 166A-19.70(g) on the recommendation of the Commissioner of Agriculture, upon a finding that there is an imminent threat of severe economic loss of livestock or poultry, the Governor shall direct the Department of Public Safety to temporarily suspend weighing those vehicles used to transport livestock and poultry; and
WHEREAS, 49 CFR § 390.23 allows the Governor of a state to suspend the rules and regulations under 49 CFR Part 395 for up to 30 days if the Governor determines that an emergency condition exists; and
WHEREAS, under N.C.G.S. § 166A-19.70, the Governor may declare that the health, safety, or economic well-being of persons or property requires that the maximum hours of service for drivers prescribed by N.C.G.S. § 20-381 should be waived for persons transporting essential fuels, food, water, medical supplies, feed for livestock and poultry, transporting livestock and poultry and for vehicles used in the restoration of utility services.
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority vested in me as Governor by the Constitution and the laws of the State of North Carolina, IT IS ORDERED:
The Department of Public Safety in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Transportation shall waive the maximum hours of service for drivers prescribed by the Department of Public Safety pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 20-381.
The Department of Public Safety in conjunction with the Department of Transportation shall waive certain size and weight restrictions and penalties arising under N.C.G.S. §§ 20-116 and 20-118, and certain registration requirements and penalties arising under N.C.G.S. §§ 20-86.1, 20-382, 105-449.47, and 105-449.49 for vehicles transporting equipment and supplies for the restoration of utility services, carrying essentials and for equipment used for any debris removal. The Department of Public Safety shall temporarily suspend weighing pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 20-118.1 vehicles used to transport livestock and poultry in the emergency area.
Notwithstanding the waivers set forth above, size and weight restrictions and penalties have not been waived under the following conditions:
a. When the vehicle weight exceeds the maximum gross weight criteria established by the manufacturer (GVWR) or 90,000 pounds gross weight, whichever is less.
b. When the tandem axle weight exceeds 42,000 pounds and the single axle weight exceeds 22,000 pounds.
c. When a vehicle and vehicle combination exceeds 12 feet in width and a total overall vehicle combination length of 75 feet from bumper to bumper.
d. Vehicles and vehicle combinations subject to exemptions or permits by authority of this Executive Order shall not be exempt from the requirement of having a yellow banner on the front and rear measuring a total length of 7 feet by 18 inches bearing the legend “Oversized Load” in 10 inch black letters 1.5 inches wide and red flags measuring 18 inches square to be displayed on all sides at the widest point of the load. In addition, when operating between sunset and sunrise, a certified escort shall be required for loads exceeding 8 feet 6 inches in width.
Vehicles referenced under Sections 2 and 3 shall be exempt from the following registration requirements:
a. The $50.00 fee listed in N.C.G.S. § 105-449.49 for a temporary trip permit is waived for the vehicles described above. No quarterly fuel tax is required because the exception in N.C.G.S. § 105-449.45(a)(1) applies.
b. The registration requirements under N.C.G.S. § 20-382.1 concerning intrastate and interstate for-hire authority is waived; however, vehicles shall maintain the required limits of insurance as required.
c. Non-participants in North Carolina’s International Registration Plan will be permitted into North Carolina in accordance with the exemptions identified by this Executive Order.
The size and weight exemption for vehicles will be allowed on all routes designated by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, except those routes designated as light traffic roads under N.C.G.S. § 20-118. This order shall not be in effect on bridges posted pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 136-72.
The waiver of regulations under Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations) does not apply to the CDL and Insurance Requirements. This waiver shall be in effect for 15 days or the duration of the emergency, whichever is less.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol shall enforce the conditions set forth in Sections 1 through 6 of this Executive Order in a manner which will implement these provisions without endangering motorists in North Carolina.
Upon request by law enforcement officers, exempted vehicles must produce documentation sufficient to establish their loads are being used for bearing equipment and supplies for utility restoration, debris removal, carrying essentials in commerce, carrying feed for livestock and poultry, or transporting livestock and poultry in the State of North Carolina.
This Executive Order does not prohibit or restrict lawfully possessed firearms or ammunition or impose any limitation on the consumption, transportation, sale or purchase of alcoholic beverages as provided in N.C.G.S. § 166A-19.30(c).
Pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 166A-19.23, this declaration triggers the prohibition against excessive pricing as provided in N.C.G.S. § 75-37 and 75-38 in the declared emergency area.
This Executive Order is effective immediately and shall remain in effect for fifteen (15) days or the duration of the emergency, whichever is less.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and affixed the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina at the Capitol in the City of Raleigh, this 7th day of March in the year of our Lord two thousand and fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eight.