Environmental activists surprised

Environmental activists colluding in large networks against land development, backed by well-heeled nonprofit litigation centers (and grants) and ginning up public support with their intimidation and scare campaigns were recently “surprised” by a judicial rebuff.

North Carolina State Judge Beecher Gray found that the N. C. Coastal Federation, Cape Fear River Watch, Pender Watch and Conservancy and the Sierra Club failed to provide any “genuine issues of material fact” in a lawsuit. It was filed on their behalf by the Southern Environmental Law Center against the State of North Carolina and Titan America, according to a Wilmington StarNews report. (link)

Further, Judge Gray ruled, they also failed to “demonstrate or forecast substantial prejudice or harm” in arguing against an air quality permit issued to the Carolinas Cement Company by the State Division of Air Quality. In other words, environmental lawyers could not show any actual evidence predicting harm in issuing an air quality permit to the company. Essentially the judge agreed that State officials correctly reasoned that no problems could be predicted from the CCC plant operations—no surprise to us.

Frankly, I’m always suspicious of any ruling by one judge on most issues. Being human, they are susceptible to biases and poor judgment as are all of us. And activist lawyers sometimes shop around to find those sympathetic with their causes. But after nearly four years of observing activist attacks on the cement company with scare tactics, slanderous comments and lawsuits, no evidence has been offered to support their claims. Couldn’t this be called “frivolous”?

But these are “serious allegations,” says “coastal advocate” Mike Giles a spokesman for the N. C. Coastal Federation. Of course, anyone can allege anything—proving it is quite different.

In law, assertions must be proved or supported with evidence to be acceptable. What these environmental activists allege is without proof—now confirmed by a judge. That should be enough to discredit these people, but they persist with delusional thinking.

Someone at the SELC criticized the State permit decision saying that regulators “failed to uphold (their) legal responsibility to protect people from avoidable harm by authorizing increased pollution” from the planned Carolinas Cement plant—another baseless allegation. Does any rational person believe that State regulators endorse pollution, much less increasing it?


About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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