Pat McCrory, the most environmentally destructive governor in modern North Carolina history, has announced his 2022 candidacy for Richard Burr’s U.S. Senate seat.
After being defeated in his 2016 re-election bid, McCrory now wants to take his pro-polluter record to Washington. While it’s still early in the primary process, with more likely candidates yet to declare their bids, McCrory’s announcement deserves special attention. He enters the race as the presumed frontrunner to win his party’s nomination.
During his four-year term, McCrory’s environmental record was so bad he earned a spot on the national League of Conservation Voters’ “Dirty Dozen in the States” roll of shame. Speaking in 2016 of then-Gov. McCrory’s performance in office, our Conservation Votes PAC Director Dan Crawford said, “Governor McCrory is such a threat to North Carolina’s clean air and water that he’s earned national attention. As Governor, he’s made sure Duke Energy, his former employer, received sweetheart deals to avoid cleaning up its toxic coal ash mess, including the massive coal ash spill and the 33 coal ash ponds that continue to poison our drinking water. McCrory even signed the Polluter Protection Act, which brazenly throws out critical environmental protections by letting polluters police themselves – and even lets them off the hook for civil penalties if they ‘self-report’ their mess.”
Among his acts of environmental mismanagement, McCrory appointed the two most pro-polluter leaders in the history of North Carolina’s environmental protection agency (now called the Department of Environmental Quality). His first appointee, John Skvarla, was a high-priced environmental business consultant who firmly believed in the doctrine that polluters would clean up on their own with little need for publicly-enforced pollution control rules. Skvarla‘s successor, Donald van der Vaart, was worse: an engineer who denied climate science and attacked citizen advocates, other public officials, and even scientists within his own agency who tried to defend public health.
When career scientists within state agencies spoke up about the dangers of a water pollutant in residents’ well water that the McCrory-appointed administrators attempted to downplay, McCrory’s cronies attempted to smear those genuine public servants who tried to sound the alarm on growing threats to public health.
While we can’t yet predict the outcome of the 2022 campaign, we already know one thing: North Carolinians’ health would suffer further from more of this kind of “representation” in Congress.