Groups Say North Carolina Republicans Have Gutted Pollution Programs
When Gov. Pat McCrory signed a voluminous Republican-backed regulatory reform bill into law last year, he said, “This common sense legislation cuts government red tape, axes overly burdensome regulations, and puts job creation first here in North Carolina.”
It’s also hurt the environment. The recent massive coal ash spill at a Duke plant in Eden coated more than 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge. The Republican Governor worked at Duke Energy for 29 years .
The Associated Press reports:
When Republicans took control of the North Carolina legislature four years ago, they promised to do away with environmental regulations they claimed hurt economic growth. But environmental groups say lawmakers have gone too far, gutting laws aimed at protecting the public’s health.
In the last few years, GOP lawmakers have scaled back pollution control programs, lifted a moratorium on natural gas exploration using hydraulic fracturing and pushed to remove key scientists and experts from state environmental oversight boards.
In the last week alone, they considered several controversial environmental measures. One would stop the state environmental agency from disclosing complaints and investigations on farms. Critics say that would shield farm operators from public scrutiny and discourage citizens from reporting violations. Another provision tucked in a regulatory reform bill would reduce the number of air quality monitoring stations in communities across the state.
“What this provision would do is say we’re going to get rid of air quality monitors unless the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) specifically requires us to have them,” said Molly Diggins, state director of the Sierra Club. That means communities would have “less protection from harmful air pollution than they have today with no clear benefit to the public.”
It didn’t take long for environmentalists to discover that the state agency was working closely with McCrory and Republican lawmakers to thwart them on key environmental issues — most notably coal ash.
Duke Energy has not been held accountable for poisoning the river. That will be addressed again in November because the state Senate and House couldn’t work out their differences.
H/T: North Carolina resident @ComgenKDT with thanks.