Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gov. Elect McCroy begins to assemble new administration

The new governor, Pat McCroy, has begun to make appointments to his new administration, which will begin when he takes office on January 5.

Of environmental interest is the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). McCroy has announced that John Skvarla of Pinehurst, currently the CEO of Restoration Services. Skvarla has said, according to a story in the News & Observer, that he is anxious to move the needle back from what he sees as over-regulation toward what he promises will be a middle ground that protects the environment without hindering economic growth.

The McDowell News reported that NC House member Mitch Gillespie of McDowell County will become an Assistant Secretary of DENR. Gillespie, in 2011, literally drew a bull's-eye on the window of his legislative office aimed at the DENR offices.

According to the McDowell News, Lou Zeller, executive director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), said that the selection of Gillespie was "very bad news". “He seems to have an ax to grind,” said Zeller. “His lead in gutting the state air toxics program revealed his animus against regulations which protect public heath. He said then that he had ‘not even scratched the surface.’ Putting him at DENR will allow him to do what he could not get done in the General Assembly; that is, further the extreme elevation of private property rights over public health.

Pat McCrory will take office on January 5. However, Gillespie is expected to be sworn in to his new term on January 9 and to resign shortly after that to take the DENR post.

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