Landfill moratorium in trouble

Hate to harsh y’all’s mellow, but there’s lots of chatter on the landfill moratorium and how a mere 23 lobbyists may succeed in circumventing that 48-to-nuthin’ vote in the Senate and the Speaker’s own call for a vote on the bill.

According to the N&O‘s story, Pryor Gibson and Bill Owens are two big fish that are standing in the way of a vote. To me, this is the ethics story. To wit:
1. House leadership strips landfill provision out of budget saying it’s policy and should be voted on separately.
2. Senate passes landfill moratorium bill.
3. Lobbyists suceed in getting powerful pro-biz Democrats to bottle up provision until the clock runs out.
Of course 5, 6 and 20 are that everybody gets a fat contribution like back on April 14.
The very idea that the counties invited these companies in after due process and hearings is one of the smelliest red herrings anyone’s tossed in the room for a while.
It is just nonsense to propose that the state ought to respect a county’s right to invite half of New Jersey to use its new landfill or a town’s right to say bring it on for a few million tons of Europe’s ground up tires and auto parts.

Here’s some folks to call.
Pryor Gibson, Bill Owens, Mickey Michaux, Jim Black

And, while you’re at it, you Greendogs might want to ask Jerry Meek why a bunch of powerful House Dems are standing in the way of this important environmental bill.

8 replies
  1. gregflynn says:

    Joe Sinsheimer put out a press release on this today

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JULY 24, 2006

    JimBlackMustGo Founder Questions Why Speaker Black Refuses to Allow a House Vote on Landfill Moratorium–Black Unwilling to Say No to Major Campaign Contributor

    Black Solicits $49,000 in Campaign Contributions from Waste Management in 2004-2005 while serving as National Finance Chair of Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. Is North Carolina being held hostage once again to pay-to-play politics?

    Raleigh — Joe Sinsheimer, creator of the Jimblackmustgo.com website, questioned today whether Speaker Jim Black’s refusal to allow a floor vote on legislation to impose an 18-month landfill moratorium in the state was linked to his acceptance of $49,000 in campaign funds in 2004-2005 for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee from Waste Management, Inc., one of the companies proposing a new private landfill in the state.

    Six privately owned landfills have been proposed in recent months in rural Eastern and Piedmont counties, and if approved by the state, would make North Carolina one of the nation’s top five importers of garbage. Two weeks ago, the state Senate unanimously approved a freeze on permits for new landfills until January 1, 2008 so that state lawmakers could review financial requirements for landfill owners and design standards for landfills in flood-prone areas and other regulations. The House to date has not scheduled a floor vote on the Senate bill.

    “In a case eerily similar to the video poker controversy, we once again see Speaker Black blocking a House floor vote on controversial legislation that would impact one of his major campaign contributors,” Joe Sinsheimer said. “After all the controversy, investigations, and false apologies to turn over a new leaf, Jim Black simply is up to his old tricks–rewarding campaign contributors at the expense of the state’s residents and sound public policy. North Carolina deserves an up-or-down vote on this critical piece of legislation.”

    In 2004-2005, Jim Black served as National Finance Chair of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC). On July 1, 2004, Waste Management made a $12,000 corporate contribution to the DLCC. On July 15, 2004, Waste Management made another $25,000 corporate contribution to the DLCC. Waste Management made a third corporate contribution in the amount of $12,000 to the DLCC on August 24, 2005. This last contribution came just weeks after Speaker Black and the DLCC hosted a corporate fundraiser at Pinehurst Resort. The DLCC reported that the Pinehurst event cost $70,370 (Source–DLCC Form 8872 Campaign Finance Reports as filed with the Internal Revenue Service).

    In addition to the $49,000 in corporate contributions to the DLCC, Waste Management’s political action committee recently has been generous to House Democrats. In April 2006, Waste Management’s PAC gave $11,000 to eleven different Democratic House Members. Members of the “House Democratic Garbage Caucus” include:

    $1000 Rep. Beverly Earle
    $1000 Rep. Hugh Holliman
    $1000 Rep. Jim Crawford
    $1000 Rep. Dewey Hill
    $1000 Rep. Edd Nye
    $1000 Rep. Jim Harrell
    $1000 Rep. Lucy T. Allen
    $1000 Rep. Bill Owens
    $1000 Rep. Pryor Gibson
    $1000 Rep. Earl Jones
    $1000 Rep. William Wainwright

    [Rep. Pryor Gibson told the News and Observer on July 22nd that he planned to return the $4200 in campaign contribution he had received in April/May 2006 from landfill companies and their lobbyists including the Waste Management PAC contribution. “I sent them back because I didn’t want anybody to think there could have been anything inappropriate,” Gibson told N&O reporter Wade Rawlins. Are other House members willing to return Waste Management’s PAC money to avoid the appearance of impropriety?]

    “There are at least 25 registered corporate lobbyists now patrolling the House office building trying to block the landfill moratorium,” Sinsheimer added. “Many of these lobbyists and their clients have been major campaign contributors to the House leadership in the past and can be expected to pony up again in the fall. Our state is in desperate need of serious lobbying and campaign finance reforms in order to stop the practice of money buying public policy on Jones Street.”

    ******
    The Jimblackmustgo.com site will stay up–and new content will be added weekly– until Jim Black resigns

  2. Sally Greene says:

    Right on about the due process. That was the crux of the Greene County case in 2001, which we won. The county commissioners made a sham out of the public process. Before it was all over, a key county employee had left to go to work for the landfill company wanting the contract. It takes incredible effort to stand up to that kind of thing, and even when you win it isn’t over.

  3. kmr says:

    I guess we all got to keep reminding ourselves that even baby Jesus took gifts from out-of-state vendors.

  4. gregflynn says:

    Here’s a few of waste related registered lobbyists:

    Waste Management Carolinas
    Ainsworth, W.
    Booker, Calvin
    Case, Charles
    Essick, Randall
    Fullbright, Amy
    Horne, B. Davis
    Simpson, Dana

    Waste Industries
    Greene, K.
    Knight, Roger

    National Solid Wastes Management Association
    Barnes, David
    Mann, Michael
    Musselwhite, Marvin
    Vaughan, Donald

    BFI
    Folger, Frank
    Kelly, Wendy

  5. moodsman says:

    Why is it that nobody cares that the state is a net exporter of waste (i.e. North Carolina makes other places dumping grounds)? Because of NIMBY’s, the only kind of landfills waste companies can afford to try to get permitted are mega landfills due to cost and time required to get a permit. The main concern for a new landfill should be weather the site is geologically suitable or not. If controlling how much waste can come into the state is a concern, then lobby for a state tipping fee like other states have successfully done. Bring a landfill into a community does create some jobs and brings in much need funds from tipping fees.

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