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Thursday, February 13, 2014

The shadow of things to come: US investigates NC environment agency after coal-ash spill

“Power, wrongly used, defeats the oppressor as well as the oppressed.” 

                                                                                          ~Wally Lamb

As I was reviewing the last Mining and Energy Commission audios for a new post, this article landed in my inbox: 
 — Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into North Carolina's environmental agency following a massive coal ash spill on the Dan River. The U.S. Attorney's Office issued a grand jury subpoena requesting records from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. They include emails, memos and reports from 2010 through the Feb. 2 spill. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the subpoena on Thursday. The spill at a Duke Energy plant in Eden spewed enough toxic ash into the river to fill 72 Olympic-sized pools. It was the third-largest coal ash spill in U.S. history.The order commands the state environmental agency's chief lawyer to appear next month before the grand jury in Raleigh. Agency spokesman Drew Elliot says the state will cooperate with the federal investigators.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Attendees of the Mining and Energy Commission meetings (including myself)  have been raising the issue of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources' (DENR) political will to enforce the law.This is not unique to this new incarnation, but the expanded exemption of hundreds of DENR employees last summer, the changes in public record policy and the incessant pressure on DENR staff to perform (behave), are disturbing, to say the least. 
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The Oil and Gas industry has already been meddling with our regulatory and political process. With  complicit or at least compliant DENR leadership, problems in affected communities will be trivialized or downright ignored. How realistic is it to think that the most powerful industry in the world can be controlled? You have a better chance of finding Bigfoot.

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  1. Entertaining, Informative and disturbing. Thank you Therese! Sharing widely, as always! Hope everyone else does the same!

  2. just getting here , love the last paragraph! it needs to be on a poster . Sharing as usual .


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