State Government
Phase 2 COVID-19 Restrictions To Remain On Place For Another 5 Weeks PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 06 August 2020 09:00
Governor Roy Cooper ahs ordered North Carolina to remain Phase 2 COVID-19 pandemic restrictions for another 5 weeks as students and staff return to schools, colleges and universities and the state doubles down on efforts to decrease COVID-19 numbers. 
 
“Other states that lifted restrictions quickly have had to go backward as their hospital capacity ran dangerously low and their cases jumped higher. We will not make that mistake in North Carolina,” said Governor Cooper. “In keeping with our dimmer switch approach with schools opening, and in order to push for decreasing numbers which will keep people healthier and boost our economy, North Carolina will remain paused in Safer At Home Phase 2 for 5 weeks.”
 
Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services shared an update on North Carolina’s data trends. Dr. Cohen explained that while some of North Carolina’s numbers have mostly leveled, any progress is fragile as other states have shown with sudden and devastating surges in viral spread. 
 
“While overall we are seeing signs of stability, we still have much work to do. Our recent trends show us what is possible when we commit to slowing the spread by wearing face coverings and following those simple but powerful 3Ws,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D.
 
 
 
Cooper Makes Numerous Appointments PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 06 August 2020 08:53
Governor Roy Cooper announced appointments for boards and commissions throughout North Carolina.
 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the North Carolina Addictions Specialist Professional Practice Board:
 
Johnny T. Bass of Elm City as a public member. Bass is a contract treasurer for a West Virginia coal mining company based in Raleigh. Bass formerly worked with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court as an Examiner for Chapter 11 matters for 18 years.

 

Anita Antoinette Daniels-Kenney of Durham as a licensed addiction specialist professional. Daniels-Kenney is a founding member, vice president, and co-chair of the Pro Sports and Clinicians Committees of the Alliance of Social Workers in Sports where she provides counseling to current and former collegiate athletes. She is also an adjunct professor at North Carolina Central University and has experience in delivering group clinical supervision for LCSW and LPC Associates. 

 

Dr. Kendra Davis as a licensed addictions specialist professional. Davis is a clinical substance abuse trainer at the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and an adjunct professor at Forsyth Technical and Community College. Davis is also a certified clinical supervisor. 
Michael McGuire of Greensboro as a licensed addiction specialist professional selected from the allied mental health, substance use disorder, developmental disabilities treatment and prevention profession. McGuire is an assistant clinical professor in the School of Social work at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. McGuire is also a licensed clinical social worker and marital and family therapist. 

 

Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Brain Injury Advisory Council:
 
Erica Davis of Raleigh as a brain injury service provider from the private sector. Davis is a traumatic brain injury care coordinator with Alliance Health. She is a certified brain injury specialist and has more than five years of experience in the traumatic brain injury field.

 

Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Brunswick Community College Board of Trustees:
 
J. Alan Holden of Holden Beach as a member at-large. Holden currently serves as Mayor of the town of Holden Beach. Holden is a Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager and owner of Alan Holden Vacations. He previously served as Commissioner of the town of Holden Beach and serves on the Brunswick County Health Department Advisory Board. 

 

Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Board of Trustees:
 
Joel William Carroll of Hudson as a member at-large. Carroll worked in the Caldwell County School System for over 30 years. He has also been named the Town of Hudson’s Man of the Year.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Catawba Valley Community College Board of Trustees:
 
Dr. Patricia R. Johnson of Catawba as a member at-large. Johnson is a University Field Supervisor at Appalachian State University. She was previously an Associate Superintendent of Human Resource Services, as well as a Principal for Caldwell County Schools.

 

Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the North Carolina Child Well-Being Transformation Council:
 
Kody Kinsley of Raleigh as the Representative from DHHS, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. Kinsley serves as the Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health and Intellectual and Development Disabilities at the Department of Health and Human Services. 

 

Dr. Michelle Aurelius of Sims as the Representative from DHHS, Division of Public Health, with expertise in substance abuse disorders. Aurelius serves as North Carolina Chief Medical Examiner and previously served as the Interim Chief Toxicologist. Aurelius is board certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic, Clinical and Forensic Pathology.

 

Dr. Cardra Burns of Raleigh as the Representative from DHHS, Division of Public Health, with expertise in children's health. Burns serves as the Senior Deputy Director at the North Carolina Division of Public Health. Burns previously served as the Deputy Health Director of Mecklenburg County. Burns is a member of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and the North Carolina Public Health Association. 

 

Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Clean Water Management Trust Fund:
 
Darrel J. Williams of Charlotte as a member at-large. Williams is a founding partner and the owner of Neighboring Concepts, an architectural firm founded in Charlotte. He previously served four terms on the Mecklenburg County Commission and recently completed his third term on the board of the North Carolina Nature Conservancy.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Coastal Carolina Community College Board of Trustees:
 
Dr. Gina Francis of Jacksonville as a member at-large. Francis is a veterinarian at the Bayshore Animal Hospital, which she opened in 2014 offering services in small animal and equine medicine. She previously worked as a medical writer and a reporter, writing for the Wilmington Journal, the News and Observer and the Jackson Advocate.
Gov Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges:
 
Liz Simmons of Charlotte as a representative of Region 4. Simmons was a high school history and government teacher at Charlotte Latin. Simmons serves as a director of the Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center. She also serves as Secretary of the University of Virginia College Arts and Sciences Foundation Board of Trustees. 

 

Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing:
 
Daphne Peacock of Morganton as a parent of a deaf child from the Central area. Peacock is a middle school science teacher at the North Carolina School for the Deaf. Prior to teaching at the North Carolina School for the Deaf, she taught at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University’s English Language Institute. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities:
 
Karey L. Perez of Spring Lake as a representative of Department of Health and Human Services. Perez serves as the Adult Services Section Chief of North Carolina’s Division of Aging and Adult Services. Perez has over a decade of experience in social work.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the Task Force to Develop a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education:
 
Dr. Bryan A. Abernethy of Pisgah Forest as a member at-large. Abernethy is a Principal at Brevard High School. He previously served as Principal of East Columbus High School where he decreased teacher turnover substantially and increased parent and community involvement. 
Dr. Danielle Madrazo of Youngsville as a member at-large. Madrazo serves as Associate Professor of Education, Director of Teacher Education, and Chair of the School of Social Sciences and Education at North Carolina Wesleyan College. She previously worked as a teacher of English Language Learners. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Durham Technical Community College Board of Trustees:
 
Walter L. Newton of Bahama as a member at-large. Newton serves as the President of Newton Instrument Company, a position he had held since 1990. Newton previously served as a member of Greensboro College’s Board of Trustees from 1995 to 2016.
Gov Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors:
 
James Lee Buchanan of Sylva as a chief electrical inspector of a county or municipality. Buchanan is the chief code official and assistant director of code enforcement for Jackson County. Additionally, Buchanan is an adjunct faculty member at Southwestern Community College where he instructs electrical continuing education for electrical contractors. 
Gov Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Equal Access to Justice Commission:
 
Natalia M. Botella of Charlotte as the Governor’s designee. Botella is a policy advisor for the Governor’s Office. She previously worked as an attorney for the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy. As an attorney she advised and represented clients in public benefits, health care access, consumer protection, and expungement cases.
Gov Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Fee-Based Practicing Pastoral Counselors:
 
Rev. Dr. Latonya Agard of Fuquay-Varina as a Certified Fee-based Pastoral Counselor Associate. Agard is the Senior Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Provost of Hosanna Bible College. She is a member of the National Association of Black Counselors. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Gaston College Board of Trustees:
 
Resa Dobbins Hoyle of Dallas as a member at-large. Hoyle serves as the beginning teacher support coordinator for Gaston County Schools. Hoyle previously served as the Executive Director for Federal and Special Programs for Gaston County Schools. She also serves on the Leadership Gaston Advisory Board for the Gaston Regional Chamber. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the Global Transpark Authority:
 
The Honorable E. Norris Tolson of Rocky Mount as the Chair. Tolson is the CEO and President for the Carolinas Gateway Partnership. He previously served as the Secretary of the North Department of Commerce and North Carolina Department of Transportation.

 

Kevin B. Jones of Rocky Mount as a representative of the Economic Development Industry. Jones is the owner of Katala Industries, a small business focused on construction and real estate development. He previously served as a transportation specialist for the United States Department of Transportation. Jones serves on the School of Technology Advisory Board for the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. 

 

Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Hearing Aid Dealers and Fitters Licensing Board:
 
John Clell Hamm of Wilmington as a hearing aid specialist licensed for at least three years prior to appointment. Hamm is the founder of Hamm Hearing Aid Center, a Wilmington store that provides hearing-aid technology, which he opened in 2001.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the Historic Bath Commission:
 
Regina Yvette-Carter Garcia of Greenville as a member at-large. Garcia is an English professor and the Global Programs Coordinator at Pitt Community College. Garcia previously worked with Pitt County Schools and the Eastern Carolina Vocational Center.
Wayne Randall of Pinetown as a member at-large. Randall is the 7th and 8th grade football and basketball coach for Bath Elementary School, a role he has held for the last 12 years.

 

Karen Sayer of Bath as a member at-large. Sayer is the Vice Chair of the Historic Bath Commission and has been on the commission since 2007. Sayer has also worked on historic preservation in Bath with the Bath High School Preservation group.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Historic Murfreesboro Commission:
 
James Eason of Murfreesboro as a member at-large. Eason retired from the Murfreesboro office of Southern Bank as senior vice president and city executive. He has served on other local boards as well, including for the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce and the Murfreesboro United Methodist Church.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Human Relations Commission:
 
Lauren Haigler Henderson as a member at-large. Henderson is a development consultant for Blueprint NC. She also is a fund administrator for the Eastern North Carolina Hurricane Florence Frontline Recovery Fund. She previously worked as a fund administrator for the Harvey Community Relief Fund in Houston, Texas. 

 

Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission: 
 
Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker of Greensboro as a full-time faculty member of a State land grant university who regularly works in the field of agriculture. Dr. Hymon-Parker is the associate dean for the agricultural program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She was previously the associate research director at the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. 
Dr. Thomas Melton of Raleigh as a full-time faculty member of a State land grant university who regularly works in the field of agriculture. Melton has chaired the commission for the last four years and will continue to do so. Melton is the associate director emeritus of N.C. State Extension at North Carolina State University. 

 

Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Interagency Council for Coordinating Homeless Programs:
 
Erika Ferguson of Raleigh as the chair. Ferguson currently serves as the Director of the Office of Healthy Opportunities for the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Ferguson started her career managing a homeless shelter in the Mississippi Delta and has since served in a variety of capacities across health care and human services including positions at Duke University and the World Health Organization.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children:
 
Nickolas J. Sojka, Jr. of Fayetteville as an individual who represents at least one local board of education with a high concentration of military children. Sojka is the board attorney for the Cumberland County Board of Education and is a member of the Commission on Access to Sound Basic Education. Sojka was also general counsel to three different public school systems in the Cape Fear region. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Isothermal Community College Board of Trustees:
 
Chivous Omar Bradley of Rutherfordton as a member at-large. Bradley serves as an Historian for Rutherford County. He previously worked CHASE high school agriculture educator at Rutherford County Schools. Bradley is a former Rutherford County Commissioner. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Johnston Community College Board of Trustees:
 
Lyn Austin of Garner as a member at-large. Austin serves as the Chair of the Johnston County Board of Trustees. Austin serves in numerous community organizations such as the Clayton Downtown Development Association and the SECU Hospice House Capital Campaign. She was awarded the I.E. Ready Award by the NC State Board of Community Colleges in 2019. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors:
 
Dr. Mark Schwarze of Boone as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor involved in Counselor Education. Schwarze is an assistant professor, program director and addiction certificate coordinator at Appalachian State University and has over 20 years of counseling experience. Schwarze is also the president of the North Carolina Counseling Association for 2019-2020.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the North Carolina Local Governmental Employees` Retirement System Board of Trustees:
 
Tony Brown of Halifax County as a county manager participating in retirement system. Brown is the Halifax county manager. Brown has more than 23 years of experience in the Halifax County government.

 

Jeffery Morse of Morganton as a retired local government employee that is nonexempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act. In 2015, Morse retired from the Town of Valdese after 35 years as the town manager. In retirement, Morse is a consultant for municipal management.
Melody Braddy of Gastonia as an active local government employee that is nonexempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act. Braddy is the assistant city manager of Gastonia and has worked with the city for over 30 years. Braddy was previously the director of financial services and the budget administrator for Gastonia. 

 

Homer Dearmin of King as a city or town manager of a town participating in the retirement system. Dearmin is the town manager of King, a position he has held since 2014. Dearmin is a past member of the King Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is a past president of the Pilot Mountain Civic Club.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Marine Industrial Park Authority:
 
Brewster W. Brown of Southern Shores as a resident of area where park is located. Brown owns B&C Antiques in the Outer Banks. Brown served as Dean of Continuing Education at Roanoke Chowan Community College from 1984 – 2001. Brown served as a North Carolina House Representative from 1987-1989. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Martin County Community College Board of Trustees:
 
Carroll Jones of Williamston as a member at-large. Jones is retired after more than 50 years with Domtar Paper Company. Jones also briefly worked as the finance manager for Plymouth Mill after retiring from Domtar.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the North Carolina Medical Care Commission:
 
Kathy G. Barger of Durham as an individual nominated by the North Carolina Hospital Association. Barger worked as a Health Care Consultant at K&L Gates’ Research Triangle Park Office where she focused on Mergers and Acquisitions and joint ventures. She previously served as the Chief System & Development Growth Officer at Vidant Health where she was responsible for facilitating growth and development. 
Joseph Crocker of Winston-Salem as a member at-large. Crocker served as the Director of the Local Impact in Forsyth County at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. Crocker previously served as the Director of operations for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. 
Dr. Neel Thomas of Raleigh as a member at-large. Dr. Thomas is an anesthesiologist at Regional Anesthesia Associates in Durham, North Carolina and is an Assistant Medical Director of Anesthesia at Duke Raleigh Hospital. He previously served as the Medical Director of Anesthesia at UNC Johnston Health. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Mitchell Community College Board of Trustees:
 
Amanda Moore of Troutman as a member at-large. Moore is the co-founder of DemandZEN, a marketing company with 60 employees that work 100% remotely. Before founding DemandZEN, she founded and spent 14 years working at Blooming Growth Resources.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Nash County Community College Board of Trustees:
 
Paul S. Jaber of Rocky Mount as a member at-large. Jaber serves as a partner at Third Millennium Group, LLC, a residential and commercial development investment firm. Jaber serves on the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency’s Board of Directors. Jaber formerly served on the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce. 

 

Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy:
 
Mischelle Johnson Corbin of Raleigh as a public member. Corbin is the vice president of operations at an independent insurance agency where she manages compliance, policies, and procedures. Corbin also had a 20-year career with Xerox Corporation as a senior document management systems analyst. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina State Board of Podiatry Examiners:
 
Tanzy Wallace of Shelby as a public member. Wallace is retired after a 32-year career in the human services field. Wallace previously served on the State Board of Opticians and currently serves on the Cleveland County Commission for Women. Wallace was also a member of the United States Air Force.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice:
 
Deb D. Maxwell of Wilmington as a representative of organizations that represent or advocate with communities of color. Maxwell is the current President of the New Hanover County NAACP. She worked as a Resource Specialist from 2018 to 2019 at the NC Department of Emergency Management where she took part in individual assistance following Hurricane Matthew. She previously served as a Care Coordinator for Children at the Brunswick County Health Department. 

 

Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Radiation Protection Commission:
 
Donna L. Davis of Ansonville as the Environmental Management Commission Representative. Davis retired in 2018 after more than 16 years as the utilities director for Stanly County. Davis was appointed to the Environmental Management Commission in 2019.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Richmond County Community College Board of Trustees:
 
Robert Lee Wallace of Rockingham as a member at-large. Wallace is the Early Intervention Services Supervisor for the Sandhills Children’s Development Service Agency. He is also a radio announcer for WJSG (104.3 FM). Wallace serves as secretary-treasurer of Samaritan Colony Addiction Treatment Center and serves on the Scotland County Partnership for Children Advisory Board. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Rural Electrification Authority:
 
Roger D. Oxendine of Rowland as a member at-large. Oxendine co-owns Oxendine Farms, which manages over 5000 acres of land for corn, wheat, soybeans, tobacco, and hog production. Oxendine is also a member of the Robeson County Commission.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the North Carolina Council on Sickle Cell Syndrome:
 
Dr. Christopher Edwards of Durham as a member at-large. Edwards is an adjunct professor at North Carolina Central University. He previously worked at Duke University Medical Center for more than 15 years. 
Berleana Kelly of Wilmington as a member at-large. Kelly founded the Southeastern Sickle Cell Association in 1983 and has managed the association since then. Before founding this association, Kelly was the head bookkeeper for the New Hanover County Senior Center.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists Board of Examiners:
 
Dr. Brenda James Fairfax of Winterville as a public member. Fairfax retired from the United States Department of Defense in 2008. Since retirement, Fairfax has served on the Pitt County Women for Women Board and the Board for Friends of Joyner Library. She has also served as Treasurer for the Pitt County Chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Underground Damage Prevention Review Board:
 
Tucker Martin of Raleigh as the Department of Transportation representative. Martin is the central region utilities manager for the Department of Transportation. In that role, Martin oversees utilities for three divisions of highways.
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees:
 
Rev. Dr. Willie T. Ramey of Henderson as a member at-large. Ramey serves as a senior pastor for the Ridgeway Missionary Baptist Church for 35 years. He is also the Charter Member and President of Millennia Investors Club. He previously served as Chairman of the Executive Board for the Creative Learning Center and as President of the Vance County Baptist Sunday School Convention. 

 

Susan Rogers of Henderson as a member at-large. Rogers is the Senior Director of Human Resources for Chick-Fil-A of Henderson. She serves on the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce and the Safe Kids Coalition. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Wilkes Community College Board of Trustees:
 
Dr. Alexander Erwin of Wilkesboro as a member-at-large. Erwin served as an adjunct professor at North Carolina A&T University and as the Dean of Division of Education at Livingstone College. Erwin has also written over 15 publications in journals and academic settings. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Wilson Community College Board of Trustees:
 
Julie Williams of Wilson as a member at-large. Williams is an attorney at Farris and Thomas, where she has been employed for more than thirty years. Williams is a past president of the Wilson County Bar Association.
 
Fisheries Reform Group Sues State Over Bycatch Regulations PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 05 August 2020 08:27
After eight months of unsuccessful attempts to engage in meaningful fisheries management reform dialog with Governor Roy Cooper, the North Carolina General Assembly leadership and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the North Carolina Coastal Fisheries Reform Group (NCCFRG) has been forced to file a Federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District in North Carolina, under the 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA).
 
Each of the defendants was issued a 60-day Notice of Intent to File a Citizen Suit on May 13, 2020, in which they were asked to respond to legal claims under CWA with respect to bycatch (discarded catch of marine species and mortality due to a direct encounter with fishing vessels and gear).  They were also asked to respond to sediment resuspensions that violate CWA. 
 
“The day has come.  We didn’t want to end up in court, but we ran out of good-faith options.  Two months ago we reached out to the State and to the industry in the form of a Notice of Intent.  Yes, we had a meeting with certain parties on the industry side (during the 60-day window) but the dialog was not fruitful - nor were any concessions made on the industry side.” said Joe Albea.  “This matter of industrial-sized shrimp trawlers going into our inshore waters and killing millions of finfish and tearing up the bottom (in the process) has to stop!  If our politicians won’t do the right thing and make common-sense regulation reform, it’s time for the Court to weigh in.”  Joe Albea leads the NCCFRG and has produced and hosted an outdoor TV series for 26 years. He has witnessed first-hand the destruction of our coastal marine resources. According to NCCFRG’s legal counsel, Mr. James L. Conner, II, partner in Calhoun, Bhella & Sechrest, the disposal of millions of dead finfish (bycatch) into Pamlico Sound every shrimping season violates the Clean Water Act, and the behavior has been allowed and encouraged by the Marine Fisheries Commission and the Division of Marine Fisheries. 
 
Robert P. Crone, Sr., media specialist and member of NCCFRG is not surprised this matter has ended up in Federal Court.  “Look, our group (NCCFRG) has taken every measure to ameliorate what is clearly a horrible situation for North Carolina’s public trust marine resource.  We published a robust website clearly describing our position. We contacted leaders and politicians in our General Assembly and the Executive Branch, practically begging them to engage in dialog with us.  And we were largely met with silence. At some point after months and years and decades of deflection, you have to throw up your hands and turn it over to the real decision makers.  That’s what we’ve done, and yes - we look forward to our day in court.  The trawling companies have broken the law, and the State has failed in its obligation to uphold North Carolina’s Public Trust Doctrine.  It’s really as simple as that.” 
 
For more information go to nccfrg.org, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 252-916-0380.
 
Fisheries Reform Group Sues State Over Bycatch Regulations PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 05 August 2020 08:27
After eight months of unsuccessful attempts to engage in meaningful fisheries management reform dialog with Governor Roy Cooper, the North Carolina General Assembly leadership and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the North Carolina Coastal Fisheries Reform Group (NCCFRG) has been forced to file a Federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District in North Carolina, under the 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA).
 
Each of the defendants was issued a 60-day Notice of Intent to File a Citizen Suit on May 13, 2020, in which they were asked to respond to legal claims under CWA with respect to bycatch (discarded catch of marine species and mortality due to a direct encounter with fishing vessels and gear).  They were also asked to respond to sediment resuspensions that violate CWA. 
 
“The day has come.  We didn’t want to end up in court, but we ran out of good-faith options.  Two months ago we reached out to the State and to the industry in the form of a Notice of Intent.  Yes, we had a meeting with certain parties on the industry side (during the 60-day window) but the dialog was not fruitful - nor were any concessions made on the industry side.” said Joe Albea.  “This matter of industrial-sized shrimp trawlers going into our inshore waters and killing millions of finfish and tearing up the bottom (in the process) has to stop!  If our politicians won’t do the right thing and make common-sense regulation reform, it’s time for the Court to weigh in.”  Joe Albea leads the NCCFRG and has produced and hosted an outdoor TV series for 26 years. He has witnessed first-hand the destruction of our coastal marine resources. According to NCCFRG’s legal counsel, Mr. James L. Conner, II, partner in Calhoun, Bhella & Sechrest, the disposal of millions of dead finfish (bycatch) into Pamlico Sound every shrimping season violates the Clean Water Act, and the behavior has been allowed and encouraged by the Marine Fisheries Commission and the Division of Marine Fisheries. 
 
Robert P. Crone, Sr., media specialist and member of NCCFRG is not surprised this matter has ended up in Federal Court.  “Look, our group (NCCFRG) has taken every measure to ameliorate what is clearly a horrible situation for North Carolina’s public trust marine resource.  We published a robust website clearly describing our position. We contacted leaders and politicians in our General Assembly and the Executive Branch, practically begging them to engage in dialog with us.  And we were largely met with silence. At some point after months and years and decades of deflection, you have to throw up your hands and turn it over to the real decision makers.  That’s what we’ve done, and yes - we look forward to our day in court.  The trawling companies have broken the law, and the State has failed in its obligation to uphold North Carolina’s Public Trust Doctrine.  It’s really as simple as that.” 
 
For more information go to nccfrg.org, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 252-916-0380.
 
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