N.C. refuses $600K grant to monitor water around fracking sites



John Skvarla, McCrory's new head of the Department of Energy and Natural Resources, has done it again, upping the ante in his apparent mission to destroy this beautiful state's environment for the sake of corporate profits. Here's the short version: the state of North Carolina applied for federal grants to monitor water quality that might be compromised (poisoned) by fracking. Happily for North Carolina, the $600,000 grants were approved. Not so happily for North Carolina, Skvarla has turned the funds down.

  • Jared Rodriguez/Truthout (Flickr Creative Commons)

Skvarla & Co. say the federal money is "not needed for the division to meet our core mission." The department's core mission, then, has nothing to do with setting up a network of sites to start testing streams in North Carolina where fracking is likely to occur, nor to set up a long-term plan for monitoring the health of our wetlands, both of which were to be covered by the federal money.

Not long ago, Skvarla laid out what he sees as the department's "new mission," and it's not pretty, ladies and gents http://www.bluenc.com/denr-abandons-pretense-environmental-protection - a document threaded with conservative, anti-environmentalism, business-profits-first buzz words and phrases. Our favorite part: Scientific "judgment" must show an "understanding" that environmental science is "quite complex . . .and, most importantly, contains diversity of opinion," including the valuable kinds of "opinion" usually served up by profit-driven business interests. (Never mind that the rest of the known universe considers scientific judgment to consist of whatever concrete proof is available from, you know, actual scientists.)

By the way, Skvarla, by refusing the federal grants of $600,000, has given us another "first" we can all be proud of: North Carolina is now the first state in the Environmental Protection Agency's Southeast region to refuse such grants, according to an EPA spokesperson.

No one who's been following Skvarla's ongoing deconstruction of the Department of Energy and Natural Resources is surprised by this new development. As I've written before, Skvarla is "yet another far-right true believer in McCrory's stable, with . . . zero experience in environmental matters, yet seems confident in saying that climate change is still in dispute among respected scientists, which, for the millionth time, is completely wrong." Skvarla has even stated that oil may be a renewable resource (yes, you read that correctly), which is certainly true if you don't mind waiting 45 million years for your next fill-up. Such are the remarkable geniuses with "new ideas" our own Lil' Pat has set loose in the halls of what's supposed to be the people's government. Makes you wonder what we did to deserve all this great leadership.

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