Landmark TVA pollution settlement will help the South breathe easier

Cross-posted from the Institute for Southern Studies.

A federal judge has approved a final agreement in a lawsuit that several states and environmental advocacy groups brought over air pollution from the Tennessee Valley Authority's coal-fired power plants.

A consent decree signed late last month by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Varlan in the Eastern District of Tennessee ends a decade of litigation under the Clean Air Act by requiring emission cuts from the federally-owned corporation's power plants.

Read more

Another Hurdle to Home Ownership

With all the talk about the QRM rule definition and the impact it will have on the housing market, another hurdle is flying under the radar.  Adam Rust from the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina (CRA-NC) has written a report about the other hurdle to home ownership, Loan Level Pricing Adjustments.

Read more

Financial Regulation Will Not Kill Jobs

This post was written by Michael De Los Santos and was originally posted on

Amidst all the recent talk about the debt ceiling and the national debt, two of the more discussed topics are financial regulation and job creation, with the latter even finding its way into debt conversations. No matter how we spin things, job creation can always work itself into the conversation. With unemployment numbers still high, getting the country back to work should be a priority for everyone.

Read more

Invasion of the Progress Snatchers

Just like your favorite classic horror film featuring ghoulish zombies, predictable plot lines, and horrible acting, the General Assembly will be reanimated this week to continue working from the script they wrote earlier in the year. But this time, instead of just screwing things up in the short term, they're aiming their sights a bit higher. Think Night of the Living Dead meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But real.Map

The first scene of our horror flick will open with the redistricting battle that has developed since the zombies... er, representatives, adjourned and scurried out of town last month like so many cockroaches. Draft maps of some of the districts have been dribbling out slowly during the past month, but it wasn't until last week that we got our first good look at what the new Congressional districts would look like.  It wasn't pretty.


Read more

Medicaid Cuts Threaten the Heart of the Safety Net

Another troubling potential concession in the debt-ceiling deal is substantial cuts to Medicaid—the healthcare lifeline for tens of millions of lower-income Americans, including over 500,000 seniors in North Carolina alone who get Medicaid support for long-term care. Considered to be less politically dangerous to cut than Social Security and Medicare because of the outsized influence of senior citizens in elections, many have suggested it’s the sacrificial lamb of the three, in spite of the fact that polling shows opposition to Medicaid cuts to be almost exactly the same as opposition to Medicare cuts.

These cuts loom just as a report released today confirms that persons with Medicaid coverage have better physical and mental health outcomes than those without. This report comes on the heels of another report that persuasively demonstrates that poverty can and does kills hundreds of thousands of Americans a year. How much more evidence to we need that an effective safety net saves lives and money, and promotes healthy families, childhood development, and economic security for all of us?

Read more