During a public meeting Tuesday, the N.C. Military Affairs Commission heard a presentation about the Amazon Wind Farm after members of the public left the meeting — a possible violation of the state’s Public Meetings Law.
Wind farm critic John Droz had a spot reserved for 1 p.m. on the meeting’s original agenda. Carolina Journal Associate Editor Dan Way and two other members of the public attended the meeting to hear the presentation.
But CJ reported earlier the presentation was taken off the agenda at the insistence of committee chairman Brig. Gen. Bud Martin.
Martin initially offered to allow the presentation if Way and other members of the public present would not share any information about it. When Way refused, citing the Public Meetings Law, Martin pulled the presentation from the agenda and said it would be scheduled for another meeting at a time to be determined later.
Apparently, “later” meant “later that day.”
In an email exchange Tuesday evening with Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, Droz said he was allowed to give his presentation after Way, the two other members of the public, and Military and Veterans Affairs Secretary Larry Hall — who serves as the commission’s executive director — left the meeting.
Cook is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has scheduled a confirmation hearing Wednesday for Hall. Gov. Roy Cooper has filed a lawsuit fighting the law requiring Senate confirmation of Cabinet appointments.
Hall also was aware that Way wanted to report on the presentation and spoke with Way outside the meeting room after the presentation was stricken from the agenda.
Martin’s actions are difficult to square with the Public Meetings Law.
According to section (b)2 of the law, once the presentation was removed from the agenda, the commission should have posted a new agenda, provided at least 48 hours notice, and announced a separate meeting before allowing it to be offered again.
This did not happen.
Droz is one of several people who have raised concerns about the wind farm interfering with a sophisticated military radar installation 14 miles from the wind facility.
Republican leaders in the General Assembly have asked the Trump administration either to shut the wind farm down, or revise the agreement between the wind farm developer and the Department of Defense if the wind farm does interfere with military radar.
Carolina Journal will update this story as it develops.