About that “job-killing” regulation

I suppose it’s not quite the toxic water pollution in West Virginia (and you should listen to this great Fresh Air on the matter), but here in North Carolina there’s been a huge leak of coal ash into a river.  And, surprise, surprise, surprise, the Republican “costumer-friendly” (i.e., business-friendly) Department of Environment and Natural Resources has failed to ensure public safety through regulations:

RALEIGH, N.C. — Over the last year, environmental groups have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps like the one that ruptured last week, spewing enough toxic sludge into a North Carolina river to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools.

Each time, they say, their efforts have been stymied — by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The state agency has blocked the citizen lawsuits by intervening at the last minute to assert its own authority under the federal act to take enforcement action. After negotiating with Duke, the state proposed settlements where the nation’s largest electricity provider pays modest fines but is under no requirement to actually clean up its coal ash ponds…

Clean water advocates have long complained that state regulators are too cozy with the polluters they regulate. But they say that coordination and cooperation has become even more overt since the January 2013 inauguration of Gov. Pat McCrory, a pro-business Republican who worked at Duke Energy for 28 years.

Amy Adams was a regional director at the state environmental agency in charge of enforcing surface water standards for 21 North Carolina counties before she resigned in protest last November. A nine-year veteran of the agency, she said she was directed in her last months to help polluters meet compliance standards, rather than issue violations or fines.”We have a governor right now that has very close ties to Duke, the state’s largest polluter and a major political contributor to his campaigns,” said Adams, who now works for the environmental group Appalachian Voices. “Under the new administration, North Carolina has changed the definition of who its customer is from the public and the natural resources it is supposed to protect to the industries it regulates. [emphasis mine] There’s been a huge push away from environmental protection and toward promoting economic growth.”

Yep.  And, of course, this ends up being hugely short-sighted.  You know what’s really bad for economic growth?  A bunch of toxins in your rivers and water supply!

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