Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget office did not answer a number of questions about the proposed $58 million escrow payment. The budget office’s response to General Assembly staff called the payment a “voluntary contribution” to the state. There is no precedent for this. In fact, I tried years ago to make a (much smaller) voluntary contribution and found that it was not possible.

Just another of the six impossible things the Red Queen might believe—a voluntary mitigation contribution to the state deposited outside the Treasury to be directed without appropriation by the General Assembly by an yet-to-be-issued executive order and overseen by a board of directors not mentioned anywhere in the agreement unconnected to the permit issued earlier the same day.