From an editorial Friday in The Robesonian in Lumberton:
It’s not very often that a governor issues a press release touting the benefits of a new economic development project his administration has negotiated and then two weeks later says the project is no longer viable, but that’s exactly what Gov. Pat McCrory has done.
The reversal on the proposed CSX railroad hub in Johnston County came after the county commissioners voted to oppose the project after local residents complained about plans by the company to use eminent domain to force property owners to sell their land.
A McCrory spokesperson said that the commission vote and “serious land issues made the Johnston County site no longer a viable option for the project.”
In light of the Interstate 77 toll road controversy near Charlotte, the last thing McCrory needs as he faces a tough re-election battle is another local issue angering his core political constituency.
McCrory in this case can say he is listening to local leaders, something that must puzzle folks in places like Stokes County.
In the waning hours of the 2015 legislative session, the General Assembly passed a so called “technical corrections” bill that is designed to make non-substantive changes to bills already passed during the session.
But the version passed last year with virtually no debate included a provision that prevents local governments from restricting fracking in their own communities. Gov. McCrory signed the bill the next day.
Just two days before he signed it, the Stokes County Commission unanimously approved a three-year moratorium on fracking to allow local officials to make sure land use regulations were in place if fracking ever came.
But McCrory and state lawmakers wanted to make sure that the wishes of local governments would not restrict energy companies determined to frack for natural gas. Nevermind the intense local opposition and “serious land issues.”
McCrory and the General Assembly do think they know best and don’t really care what local elected officials or community leaders think — unless, as in the case of the CSX railway hub, it’s an election year and they don’t want to upset their conservative political base.
The hypocrisy is stunning to behold.