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The Daily Tar Heel
View from the Hill

Carolina Capitol Roundup: Feb. 24-28

The latest edition of View from the Hill’s weekly roundup of the most interesting news from Washington, D.C. pertaining to North Carolina and the UNC system.

EPA official visits Triangle with Price

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency kicked off a workshop to help communities in the Research Triangle Park improve sustainability.

Bob Perciasepe, deputy administrator of the EPA, held the workshop, which was entitled “Promoting Sustainability Through Net Zero Strategies,” Tuesday and Wednesday.

The program was based on the EPA’s partnership with the U.S. Army and their goal of zero energy or water consumption and waste reduction in their installations.

Among Perciasepe’s guests were Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), whose district spans large parts of the Research Triangle.

“The event provided a great opportunity for community leaders and EPA to come together to share lessons learned from similar net zero efforts unfolding in local communities across the country,” Perciasepe wrote on the EPA’s blog.

The group also toured the EPA’s Research Triangle Park campus and its solar roof.

According to the campus website, the Research Triangle Park’s “green” building was established in 2001 and uses 40 percent less energy than buildings of similar size.

Price is viewed as a pro-environmental congressman, especially after his endorsement by the Sierra Club.

In 2010, Price requested $2 million for alternative energy facilities at UNC and N.C. State University.

Burr helps block veterans bill

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) took to the Senate floor on Wednesday to criticize a Senate bill that would have expanded services through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Senate Republicans blocked a motion on the bill with 41 “No” votes.

The bill, Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014, was proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

The bill would have expanded benefits to family members of veterans and provided job training, mental health care and career transition for veterans.

“I had hoped that at least on this issue — the need to protect and defend our veterans and their families — we could rise above the day-to-day rancor and party politics that we see here in Congress,” Sanders said.

Burr criticized the bill for expanding services without dealing with many of the problems that have led to the department’s backlog.

“My opposition’s to proceeding with legislation that could hurt veterans, not help them,” Burr said. “In this particular case, more is not necessarily better.”

Burr is the ranking member on the Committee for Veterans Affairs.

Hagan and Burr partner for answers on Camp Lejeune contamination

North Carolina’s Senate delegation worked together to demand answers regarding water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

Burr and Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) met with Tanja Popovic, acting director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, about a recent report that showed water contamination at the military base.

According to the report Lejeune_health studies_evaluation of mortality among Marines and Navy personnel_Fact Sheet.pdf, Marine and Navy service personnel exposed to contaminated water had increased risk of death from cancer, ALS, kidney diseases, liver diseases and multiple sclerosis.

“I’ve fought in the Senate to provide health care to Camp Lejeune veterans and their families who were exposed to contaminated water because they need and deserve it,” Hagan said.

The senators were also joined in their efforts by Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.).

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