The Republican Party and its elected officials have always put the profits of their corporate backers above the health of the environment or the health of their constituents. Their negligence led to the poisoning of tens of thousands with deadly lead in Flint, Michigan – and now a shocking new scandal is unfolding in North Carolina.
Chief state epidemiologist Megan Davies has resigned in protest of Governor Pat McCrory’s administration, which she and state toxicologist Kenneth Rudo accuse of “deliberately misleading the public” about how the standards for toxin testing of drinking wells near Duke Energy power plants were created. McCrory, who was an employee of Duke Energy for 29 years and whose re-election campaign received $3 million from the company, is accused of pressuring state scientists into “relaxing temporary limits created to test the private wells for two elements, vanadium and cancer-causing hexavalent chromium” – essentially tampering with the numbers to make the wells look safer than they really are, potentially exposing thousands to cancerous toxins.
Duke Energy’s power plants stores millions of tons of toxic coal ash under the ground, which contaminates the groundwater that hundreds of thousands use to drink. Duke Energy somehow has the nerve to deny that the coal ash is the source of the deadly metals, even though “state tests last year found that cancer-causing chemicals were present in hundreds of nearby private wells” following the 2014 pipe burst which poured enough coal ash to coat 70 miles of the Dan River’s banks. Duke Energy was eventually fined $102 million for the damage, even though the scheming McCrory had tried to arrange a “sweetheart deal” settlement of only $99,111 that didn’t even require Duke to clean up the mess.
The McCrory administration also pressured her office into declaring the wells of over 400 homes to be safer earlier than she thought prudent. “The overall picture it painted was that public health in North Carolina whether state or local is done arbitrarily and unprofessionally, and that completely undermines the public confidence in that system” said a frustrated Davies in a statement about how public officials attempted to portray her office as having “over-reacted” by saying the water was unsafe to drink.
McCrory has earned himself the ire of the American public with his discriminatory H.B. 2 transgender discrimination bill. If Davies is correct, McCrory has been attempting to muffle scientists and lie to his constituents to protect his buddies at Duke Energy – close allies of the Koch Brothers – while risking the health of innocents. This is how Republicans “govern” – they use their states as exploitable profit-machines for their corporate backers without any regard for the damage they cause to the environment or the people.
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This is a staff report from former Occupy Democrats Editor in Chief Colin Taylor or contributor Rob Haffney.