What are the political implications of coal ash controversy?

Cheryl Sanders
August 12, 2016

They're calling for an independent investigation to see if the McCrory administration influenced communities by telling them the water was safe to drink prematurely.

With accusations that state administrators are misleading the public about the safety of well water for those who live near coal ash storage ponds, the governor and his challenger are weighing in, as are political experts.

If asked, McLennan said he would advise Gov. McCrory to go to the community.

State epidemiologist Dr. Megan Davies resigned earlier this week leaving behind a $188,000 a year job saying she "cannot work for a department and an Administration that deliberately misleads the public".


The issue started with letters going out to communities near the spill, initially saying the water wasn't safe to drink. Rudo's testimony brought the issue to Gov.

Rudo has been at the center of the controversy for more than a week after an environmental group suing the state included a large portion of a deposition he gave in the lawsuit in a public court filing. He's so sure about that decision he said he'd tell a neighbor, "I would gladly drink her water any day, for the rest of my life".

Rudo said in a statement first provided to TheAssociated Press that the cancer standard was set as required by a state law passed after the third-largest spill of toxic coal ash in USA history burst from a Duke Energy coal-ash pit in 2014.

She said the statement by the officials - Tom Reeder and Davies' boss, Dr. Randall Williams - which they described as an open letter to the editor, undermined that.


"They are best served by the original recommendation they received from public health", she said. "You think I want to be here?" McCrory did speak about the coal ash controversy at an event in Fayetteville Thursday morning. Environmentalists complain that under his leadership state environmental officials have shown deference to the governor's former employer. "This is not a picnic", she said, referencing the gathering of protesters outside.

The state Department of Health and Human Services, were Williams is the state health director, and the Department of Environmental Quality, where Reeder is an assistant secretary, did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday. "We wish her well in her future endeavors".

"It is important for North Carolina citizens to know that, while there are differences of opinion and we respect those differences, ensuring citizens' safety and communicating are our top priorities", Brajer said. Throughout this process, we've provided full information to homeowners about the safety of their drinking water and have taken appropriate steps to reassure citizens who had been unduly alarmed.

The department says Zack Moore, MD, MPH, pediatric infectious disease specialist and medical epidemiologist will assume the role of acting Epidemiology Section Chief and State Epidemiologist.


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