Climate or Potholes?

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on April 25, 2009

in Blog

In North Carolina legislators and environmental regulators have redirected gas tax revenues from road maintenance and repair to politically-motivated efforts such as propping up The Climate Registry and Attorney General Roy Cooper’s case against the Tennessee Valley Authority. The John Locke Foundation’s Roy Cordato puts it all together from stories published in Carolina Journal, JLF’s newspaper:

The Climate Registry’s mission has nothing to do with the emissions regulated by the state. As reported by (CJ’s David) Bass, the Climate Registry’s “goal is to persuade companies, organizations, and state and local governments to report their greenhouse gas emissions in hopes of curbing climate change.” On its Web site, CR states that “the Registry supports both voluntary and mandatory reporting programs.”

In other words, part of the registry’s goal is to have carbon dioxide, which supporters believe is causing global warming, declared a pollutant by state and federal governments. As an aside, there has been no net warming since 1998. What Carolina Journal has uncovered is that DAQ allocated $100,000 simply as a donation to CR’s activities. Half of this money was from DAQ’s gasoline tax allocation, i.e., from the pockets of drivers who are slamming into potholes across the state because DOT cannot find the resources to have them filled.

Cordato also highlights how gas tax income for the state was detoured to high-priced lawyers working on the TVA case, in which Cooper — with no other grounds for litigation — sued the neighboring utility on “nuisance” grounds.

Bass’ second story focuses on a much greater sum — $1 million. This also came from DAQ’s allocation of gasoline taxes, but apparently with some resistance. In the April issue of Carolina Journal, Bass reports on $1 million of gas tax money that was transferred to Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office. The purpose of this transfer was to help fund the AG’s lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a federal government agency that produces electricity from coal-fired power plants, as do most power plants in North Carolina. The state was suing the TVA for pollution problems in North Carolina that are allegedly being caused by emissions from the TVA plants.

As Bass reported, this rather large sum of gas tax money ultimately went to pay the cost of very high-priced law firms. The Ayres Law Group and the Resolution Law Group were hired by the AG’s office at rates of up to $515 per hour with work by paralegals (nonlawyers typically trained at community colleges) being billed at $100 per hour. Among the extravagant expenses reported was a bill for almost $7,000 by the Resolution Law Group for a one-month stay by a paralegal in a king suite at the Embassy Suites Hotel at the Chevy Chase Pavilion in Washington, D.C. This is a high-end luxury resort hotel.

So, how bad are the roads in your state? Are gas tax revenues being derailed to instead to pay agenda-driven, high-priced lawyers, and to promote the climate alarmism agenda? Chances are good that they are.

chanel May 5, 2009 at 8:04 am

lyk it is sooooo OMG!

NO NAME May 5, 2009 at 8:05 am


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: