Tag Archives: Roy Cooper

Conflicting Goals and Priorities – Questions for the NC Supreme Court on the Sale of Hofmann Forest

In the NWQEP NOTES, The NCSU Water Quality Group Newsletter, Number 138 August 2013 ISSN 1062-9149, one recommendation is outstanding:

…The State water quality agency should consider
encouraging the state, local agencies, or land trusts to
purchase riparian properties in cases where watershed
cleanup efforts have failed to be achieved or failed to be
lasting. Environmental agencies should review their
programs for conflicting mandates and implementations.
Specific roles, reporting requirements, and priorities should
be consistent.

We couldn’t agree more!  Granted, the above recommendation has a much narrower contextual focus than presented by the prospective sale of Hofmann Forest, but  it is alarmingly apropos to the apparent divergent goals and implementations highlighted by this sale of public land by NCSU and concurrent efforts within NCSU and other state agencies.

Will the NC supreme Court find that North Carolina’s various agencies and programs have conflicting goals (broader than mandates) and implementations with regard to the sale of Hofmann Forest?  Will they find the sale of Hofmann Forest consistent with the intent of the NC Constitution, the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and UNC System Policy?

Does the apparent internal inconsistency of NCSU rushing to the sale, while simultaneously promoting  vastly disparate public policy, reflect a lack of cogent leadership within the University?  Is the sale of Hofmann Forest representative of a broader inconsistency within state government that only action by the NC Supreme Court or legislation could remedy?

NWQEP NOTES, The NCSU Water Quality Group Newsletter, Number 138, August 2013 ISSN 1062-9149

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What is the biggest source of pollution in the ocean?

According to NOAA:

Eighty percent of pollution to the marine environment comes from the land. One of the biggest sources is called nonpoint source pollution, which occurs as a result of runoff. Nonpoint source pollution includes many small sources, like septic tanks, cars, trucks, and boats, plus larger sources, such as farms, ranches, and forest areas. Millions of motor vehicle engines drop small amounts of oil each day onto roads and parking lots. Much of this, too, makes its way to the sea.

Some water pollution actually starts as air pollution, which settles into waterways and oceans. Dirt can be a pollutant. Top soil or silt from fields or construction sites can run off into waterways, harming fish and wildlife habitats.

Nonpoint source pollution can make river and ocean water unsafe for humans and wildlife. In some areas, this pollution is so bad that it causes beaches to be closed after rainstorms.

More than one-third of the shellfish-growing waters of the United States are adversely affected by coastal pollution.

via What is the biggest source of pollution in the ocean?

So,  it makes sense for North Carolina to sell 79,000 acres of coastal forest land into private ownership with the only real restriction on land-use being the highest and best use real estate development doctrine?  What else is wrong with the sale of Hofmann Forest?

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More Signs not a Good Sign

North Carolina spends lots of money on signs.  They are everywhere, along our roads, on river and stream banks, in coastal waters, and on beaches.  The signs may be informational, educational, or regulatory, but they are all there ostensibly for our benefit as citizens.  Signs for the benefit of citizens – good, right?  More, better?  Not so fast!  After the sale of Hofmann Forest, we’ll get a whole new crop of signs that will say one thing, but will be symbolic of something else entirely.

NCSU, a public University,  is selling Hofmann Forest, public land, to private entities, with no significant long-term restrictions against development.  On the other hand, we have the significant positive accomplishments of other North Carolina government entities working to protect and preserve sources for future drinking water supplies and to reduce the extent of  surface water quality impairment.

It is well known that development, including agriculture,  is the main source of water quality degradation and resulting impaired surface waters.  Research and conclusions on this subject, much conducted at NCSU,  are abundant and clear.  Across a wide spectrum of North Carolina government, this simple, but true, educational message is repeated again, and again.  You cannot escape North Carolina’s watershed-awareness and impact-of-development messages as you go about your life in this state.  You find them as you visit our state’s websites, schools, museums, aquariums, estuarium, parks, and even when you drive on our highways!  Ever see an “Entering Neuse Basin” sign?  Those signs, and the worthy efforts of which they are symbolic, are your tax dollars at work!

NCSU Officials, the NCSU Endowment Fund Board, and Attorney General Roy Copper, who are promoting and facilitating the sale of Hofmann Forest, must have missed all of the NCSU subject matter research and North Carolina’s extensive and well-intentioned watershed-awareness and impact-of-development messages.  How else could they be promoting and facilitating the sale of  Hofmann Forest,  with no significant long-term restrictions against development?  Hofmann Forest is a significant percentage of  the undeveloped land in three already impaired river basins of this state.

Maybe dysfunctional state government just likes signs.  By selling Hofmann Forest, North Carolina will almost certainly get more opportunities to put up closed shellfish waters and swimming advisory signs!  How do I know?  The state says so, again, and again, and again.  I didn’t even have to come up with that one myself!

By the way, those swimming advisory and closed shellfish waters signs, and the worthy efforts of which they are symbolic, are your tax dollars at work, too!

See, we really can pay for it both ways!  After the destruction of Hofmann Forest at the hands of the state, we’ll get a whole new crop of signs.  All these signs, especially the new ones,  will become symbolic of the North Carolina’s worthy efforts to protect us from the consequences of the North Carolina’s, not so worthy, sale of Hofmann Forest!  The signs will cease to have any real meaning related to their words.  Instead, they will just be symbolic of dysfunctional state government.

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N.C. Supreme Court RE: Cubbage, et al v The Board of Trustees Of The Endowment Fund Of NC State University, et al – 380A14-1

From N.C. Court of Appeals
( 14-311 )
From Wake
( 13CVS12884 )
10 October 2014
N.C. Supreme Court
RE: Cubbage, et al v The Board of Trustees Of The Endowment Fund Of NC State University, et al – 380A14-1
Dear Court:
The following Order was entered:
Pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7A-31(a) and (b)(2) and Rule 15(e)(2) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate
Procedure, the Court on its own initiative hereby certifies for review prior to determination in the Court of Appeals
Cubbage, et al. v. Bd. of Tr. of N.C. State Univ. Endowment Fund, et al, COA14-311. The case shall be docketed
in this Court as of the date of this order. Briefs of the respective parties that have been submitted to the Court
of Appeals shall be considered by this Court. Any party may file a new brief in this Court consistent with the
North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Order 380A14-1

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SUPREME COURT DOCKET PAGE

ds-380A14-1

No. 380A14-1
SUPREME COURT OF NORTH CAROLINA
Docket Sheet
Cubbage, et al v The Board of Trustees Of The Endowment Fund Of NC State University, et al

FREDERICK W. CUBBAGE, RONALD W. SUTHERLAND, PHD, RICHARD BARNY BERNARD, JR., JAMES D. GREGORY, and
JOHN EDDY
v
THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE ENDOWMENT FUND OF NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY AT RALEIGH and
NC STATE NATURAL RESOURCES FOUNDATION, INC.

1 – CT_ORDER (Spec Order) – 10-09-2014
Filed: 10-10-2014 @ 12:06:23
FOR:
BY : N.C. Supreme Court

Party Name; Role
Cubbage, Frederick W.; Plaintiff-Appellant
Sutherland, Ronald W. (PhD); Plaintiff-Appellant
Bernard, Richard (Jr.) (Barny); Plaintiff-Appellant
Gregory, James D.; Plaintiff-Appellant
Eddy, John; Plaintiff-Appellant
The Board of Trustees Of The Endowment Fund Of North Carolina State University At Raleigh; Defendant-Appellee
NC State Natural Resources Foundation, Inc.; Defendant-Appellee
Cubbage, Frederick W., et al; Appellant

Attorney for Appellant – Cubbage, Frederick W., et al
Mr. James L. Conner, II [Primary Attorney]
Attorney at Law
jconner@rl-law.com
Ms. Amie C. Sivon
Attorney at Law
asivon@rl-law.com
RAGSDALE LIGGETT PLLC
P.O. Box 31507
Raleigh, NC 27622
(919) 881-2201

Attorney for Defendant-Appellee – The Board of Trustees Of The Endowment Fund Of North Carolina State University At Raleigh
Ms. Katherine A. Murphy [Primary Attorney]
Assistant Attorney General
kmurphy@ncdoj.gov
Ms. Catherine F. Jordan
Assistant Attorney General
cjordan@ncdoj.gov
N.C. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
P.O. Box 629
Raleigh, NC 27602
(919) 716-6920

Attorney for Defendant-Appellee – NC State Natural Resources Foundation, Inc.
Mr. Paul T. Flick [Primary Attorney]
Attorney at Law
pflick@jordanprice.com
Ms. Lori P. Jones
Attorney at Law
ljones@jordanprice.com
JORDAN PRICE WALL GRAY JONES & CARLTON
P.O. Box 10669
Raleigh, NC 27605
(919) 828-2501

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RALEIGH: NC Supreme Court takes several cases from its own appeals court | State Politics | NewsObserver.com

RALEIGH — The N.C. Supreme Court surprised parties in several lawsuits Friday by snatching their cases away from the state Court of Appeals.

These include an appeal by environmentalists who want to block the sale of N.C. State University’s massive Hofmann Forest – a case in which the appellate court was believed to be close to a decision

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article10092185.html

 

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More Public Land at Risk- This Time Lake Crabtree

RDU eases worries about Lake Crabtree park takeover :: WRAL.comAirport spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said the airport opted to let the lease lapse to negotiate a shorter term to give them flexibility.

Don’t worry! What is happening to Hoffman Forest “for the students” won’t happen at lake Crabtree.  They don’t want to sell it, they just want more flexibility!  The trails will just end up with more obstacles and hurdles, like roads and fences.  It’ll be fine!  Trust them.  Just like we can trust NCSU’s “assurances” on development of Hofmann Forest after the sale.  Don’t worry, be euphemistically happy!

 

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Remember the Berkeley protests of 1964 – Technician: Opinion

It’s possible on our campus to influence change and advocate for things we care about. College students have had an important voice in society in the past, but we shouldn’t relegate that power to history books. If students today can shelve their apathy and overcome fear of failure, they can make big changes in the world around them.

via Remember the Berkeley protests of 1964 – Technician: Opinion.

Let’s let the Opposition to the Sale of Hofmann Forest become another example of how students can make a difference!  It is not too late!

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Meet the people who voted to sell Hofmann Forest!

Dear Friends of Hofmann Forest,

I am writing to invite you to a very special occasion! On Thursday, October 16, the NC State Natural Resources Foundation Board will be meeting at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Cary, NC, 10:00am. 201 Harrison Oaks Blvd, Cary, NC 27513 (just off I-40, behind Bass Pro Shops)

The Natural Resources Foundation, in case you don’t know, is the group whose vote in January, 2013 started the process of putting Hofmann Forest up for sale (even though they haven’t owned the forest since 1977). We would like it very much if a few of you could join us at the hotel that morning to express our feelings about the relative merits of their decision.

If you think you can make it, please RSVP to me with “NRF welcoming committee” in the subject line, and I’ll send you the details of what we have in mind. We should have plenty of Save Hofmann yard signs to give away at the event as well, so if you need a sign this is a good opportunity to pick one up.

One other thing – there are still a few million people in North Carolina (and beyond) who would be opposed to the Hofmann Forest sale, if only someone they knew took the time to explain what is going on and how they could get involved. Can you please take a moment to share the petition link below with your friends and family again, with a short message why you think protecting a 79,000-acre public forest is important in this day and age?
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/save-hofmann-forest-from?source=c.fwd&r_by=10925835

If they need more info, you can refer them to our beautiful interactive map:
http://wn.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapTour/index.html?appid=80da886a8e7e4eb899a4d3e9c11c66bd

Thank you very much for sticking up for Hofmann Forest when no one else would. All of you deserve the very special new title: “Hofmann’s Heroes” – how does that sound?

Did I mention that the News and Observer reported that NCSU hopes to have the Hofmann deal closed on or before November 17? We don’t have very much time left to derail the sale…

For the forest,

Ron Sutherland, Ph.D.
NCSU Biology ’99
Conservation Scientist
Wildlands Network
ron@wildlandsnetwork.org

ps – great new Hofmann articles if you haven’t seen them:
http://www.northcarolinasportsman.com/details.php?id=4510
http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/tideland_news/news/article_b6e9cf92-496e-11e4-890e-6b6ddc639d4b.html

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Letter: Hofmann Forest – Letters – Sun Journal

N.C. State University has held Hofmann Forest in trust for the benefit of its students and residents throughout the state for decades. In transferring ownership from public to private, the citizens of North Carolina and the future NCSU-CNS students will be deprived of the many public benefits provided by the forest. Watershed protection, soil and forest conservation, wildlife habitat improvement, production of timber and other commodities will be compromised. They will be lost completely to the people of North Carolina if this property transfers to private ownership.

Letter: Hofmann Forest – Letters – Sun Journal.

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