One of the signature “accomplishments” of conservative state leadership in North Carolina in recent years has been the steady and ongoing rollback of state environmental protection laws and regulations. This is not to imply that the state has ever done enough — even under past General Assemblies and governors — to truly protect our ever-more-fragile air, land and water, but it’s also clear that things have gotten much, much worse in recent years.
Whether it’s the efforts to deny climate change and sea-level rise, fast-track fracking and off-shore oil drilling, stop efforts to clean up Jordan Lake, build artificial sea walls along the coast, roll back scores of rules and regulations, pack various commissions and boards with advocates hostile to environmental protection, limit land preservation, slash funding or just defund, demoralize, break up and change the mission statement of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources itself, the conservative agenda has been (and continues to be) a long and ambitious one.
Fortunately, one of the chief architects of the effort, DENR Secretary John Skvarla, has some advice for his agency employees who may feel a sense of discouragement at their increasingly disfavored status: Don’t worry, be happy!
We are actually not making this up. Recently, the Secretary sent his employees a memo urging them to, among other things, “smile, be happy, have fun and enjoy the process.” You can see the Secretary discuss his Bobby McFerrin-like memo in the video below (which also features some cringe-inducing comments from the Guv himself) at around the ten minute mark.
For some reason, I’m guessing Skvarla’s advice may not meet with a lot of enthusiasm amongst hardworking DENR employees watching much of their lives’ works being summarily flushed down the drain. Just a guess.