Coal Ash: McCrory Owns It Now

3-19-14-pub-notes.gifPersonally, I like Governor Pat McCrory. Makes no difference that he is a Republican. He won the top North Carolina seat by proving his competency as Mayor of Charlotte, the state’s largest city. Caring about our state and its people got him elected. Now, he is faced with making some extremely difficult decisions; ones he needs to make quickly.

John Skvarla, head of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, is under fire and many feel he needs to go. In fact, many think he needs to go now. If he doesn’t, McCrory runs the risk of mimicking President Barack Obama’s self-serving management style of no blame, no responsibility and no consequences by allowing bad conduct to go unpunished. Further, by not holding anyone accountable — no matter how offensive or treacherous the deed — McCrory is setting himself up for a failed administration. Attorney General Eric Holder, IRS Director Lois Lerner and Department of Health and Human Resources head Kathleen Sybellius are just a few examples that come to mind from the Obama administration.

Now, with tons of Duke Energy’s coal ash polluting the Dan River and contaminating wells and drinking water, it becomes pretty obvious that Skvarla and Duke Energy were derelict in their duties by failing to look out for, and protect our natural resources. Granted this cushy relationship between Duke Energy, big business and state politicians has been going on for years, and has been nurtured under the auspices of state Democrats. The shoe is now on the other foot, and with a Republican majority in charge, McCrory and his administration must deal with the aftermath.

No doubt Skvarla and his DENR chums are playing footsie with Duke Energy at our expense. Not good. However, we should not be too hasty to indict McCrory just because he was a former employee of Duke Energy. That being said, where there’s smoke there could be fire. Duke Energy has poured millions of dollars into the campaigns of high-ranking politicians on both sides of the aisle. Is ignoring environmental safety concerns in favor of big business profits what’s at play here? Perhaps. One thing is paramount, McCrory owns the problem now. All eyes are on him waiting to see how he will move forward. With Skvarla at the DENR helm, if McCrory doesn’t act quickly, he could go down with the ship. Let’s hope not.

Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

Photo: Tons of Duke Energy’s coal ash is polluting the Dan River.

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