Worth the risk?

Too often lately it seems that when we hear news out of Raleigh from the state legislature we find ourselves shaking our head in disbelief.

What century must that Republican majority think we are living in?

On the one hand, they continue to bleed our local schools by diverting money to unaccountable charter schools. When local school officials, after years of declining state funding, piece together annual budgets, it’s local county commissioners who get stuck with the sticker shock. Our schools are in crisis, to be sure, but there’s an even more insidious war being waged against our state’s natural resources.

Republican leaders have advanced hydraulic fracturing legislation to the point of making fracking a reality in North Carolina. The governor wants to open up our state’s majestic coast to offshore drilling for oil. Beach lovers and environmentalist alike shake their own heads at the thought of oil rigs visible off the shoreline. An entire section of the state’s economy dedicated to tourism cringes at the thought of an accident or spill such as the one that plagued the Gulf Coast in recent years, or even the Santa Barbara spill in California this month that coated nine-miles of beach with pollution.

It seems absurd to jeopardize our state’s historic natural resources, beaches and parks and other tourist destinations known for decades as being among the best in the country, for a few years of profits for big out of state petro-chemical corporations.

But money dominates in our nation’s political system. Out of state interests can buy the leader of the state senate. They can finance a legislative majority that will write laws that suit the corporate interest.

North Carolina voters want jobs and economic prosperity. But jeopardizing our state’s reputation for natural beauty is not a risk that seems worth taking. !

YES! WEEKLY chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration .