Let's NOT Re-Elect Pat McCrory Pt. 2
Early in his gubernatorial term, North Carolina suffered the third largest coal ash spill in US history. Duke Energy, the governor’s former employer, had a pipe under one of it’s retention ponds collapse. When the pipe burst, it spilled almost 80,000 tons of toxic coal ash into the Dan River; a major source of water for thousands of people in Virginia and North Carolina. I’ve talked about this before in a different post, highlighting McCrory’s choice of Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John Skvarla:
“Let’s forget this the guy has been quoted saying there are “many different scientific opinions” about oil being an infinite resource. ( Um, no there aren’t, John.) Forget that his argument is directly linked to a Creationist’s theory about the Earth only being 6,000 years old and fossil fuels are a myth. Forget he has publicly stated that under his watch all regulations for North Carolina will be grounded in science. (Which is a bold statement considering science hasn’t been taught in NC schools since the early 70’s.) Hell, I’ll even forget that he looks like he escaped from the cast of “Honey Boo Boo” where he played “Unkle Johnny” whose sole talent was having his neck devour his face”
“What I can’t forget is the lack of regulations he imposed on Duke Energy for their coal ash ponds when the surrounding states (SC and VA) hit them with pretty stiff fines for neglect and threats to the environment. On Super Bowl Sunday, one of the neglected ponds in NC spilled into the Dan River causing the worst environmental disaster in the State’s history. The spill spanned 70 miles and contaminated the principle water supply for thousands of people. What’s unclear is Skvarla’s non action in this case was a product of his own incompetence or was he simply turning a blind eye to their behavior because his boss was once a high level executive for Duke Energy? Oh, did I forget to mention that? Yeah, ol’ Patty had a nice cushy job with Duke Energy for nearly thirty years and yet the only state that didn’t fine Duke Energy was the state he’s currently the Governor of… Coincidence? Maybe……maybe not. The Feds seem to be leaning towards not. They’ve issued 20 subpoenas to the Environmental Regulator’s office demanding documents about communications and possible payments and gifts. Of course, Patty is denying any wrong doing where Duke Energy is concerned and is suddenly going all hard assed on his stance with regard to coal ash ponds impact on his state’s environment when he didn’t have a stance 3 weeks ago.”
Since then, two years have past, a Federal Investigation took place and Duke Energy has been fined $102 Million dollars for illegally discharging pollution from coal ash ponds at five NC Power plants. The only part of tis story that’s still murky is Patty’s relationship with Duke Energy, his former meal ticket.
Aside from Skvarla’s appointment and his blatant disregard of Duke’s violation of the state’s Environmental law, New information has been brought to light. According to CBS News, environmental groups tried to sue Duke Energy three different times in 2013 under the Clean Water Act:
“The Associated Press reported last year that environmental groups tried three times in 2013 to sue Duke under the Clean Water Act to force the company to clean up its leaky coal ash dumps. The groups said they were forced to sue after North Carolina regulators failed to act on evidence conservationists gathered of ongoing groundwater contamination at Duke's dumps.
But each time, N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources blocked the citizen lawsuits by intervening at the last minute to assert its own authority under the act to take enforcement action in state court.
The administration of Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican who worked at Duke for 29 years, then proposed what environmentalists derided as a "sweetheart deal" under which Duke would have paid fines of just $99,111 to settle violations over toxic groundwater leeching from two of its plants. That agreement, which included no requirement that Duke immediately stop or clean up the pollution, was pulled amid intense criticism after the Dan River spill.”
I’m no expert, but it sounds like he gave his corporate pals a free pass to ignore the signs they were poisoning people.
But McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis said the governor has taken strong action on the issue.
"We've taken more enforcement action on coal ash than any administration in state history, begun implementing the toughest coal ash law in the nation and issued the largest fine in state history.”
Sure, you have. Now. After the damage has been done and his administration is being watched. Equally damning in my eyes, was a report in the News&Observer written by J. Andrew Curliss and Craig Jarvis:
“Gov. Pat McCrory failed to disclose his ownership of Duke Energy stock this year in two state ethics filings and sold the stock after a torrent of bad publicity about the company’s coal-ash spill, the governor’s office acknowledged Wednesday.
McCrory filed a new ethics and economic disclosure that now makes clear he owned at least $10,000 of Duke Energy stock on the last day of 2013, reversing disclosure filings he made in April and May. Public officials who “knowingly” do not disclose correct information about their financial interests are subject to possible criminal penalties.
A lawyer for McCrory said through a spokesman the incorrect filings were a mistake based on the lawyer’s misunderstanding of the time frame covered by the earlier disclosures. McCrory signed the forms.
McCrory’s communications director, Josh Ellis, said in an interview Wednesday that McCrory sold his stock after the Duke Energy plant in Eden spilled 39,000 tons of coal ash, a toxic sludge, and 27 million gallons of wastewater into the Dan River near the Virginia border.”
I believe that fact more than any other, speaks to McCrory’s ethics and complete lack of character. NC, please don’t re-elect this Douche’ Bag. #WeAreNotThis