In recent days in the aftermath of the Duke Energy coal ash disaster, North Carolina DENR Secretary John Skvarla has taken to referring to environmental groups as “partners” of his agency in dealing with the coal ash problem. As we’ve reported on multiple occasions on this site, however, Skvarla has repeatedly used derogatory language to refer to environmental groups. Last year, he told the John Locke Foundation  that we’d all be “wearing loincloths and living in lean-tos” if we followed the advice of environmental groups.
Last night, the Winston-Salem Journal reported additional examples  of Skvarla speaking ill of his “partners”:
“John Skvarla, the secretary of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said Wednesday that the Southern Environmental Law Center is a “partner” in DENR’s lawsuits aimed at protecting water against pollution documented at power plant sites owned by Duke Energy.
‘We consider the citizens group to be on our side of the table,’ Skvarla said during a news conference.
Court transcripts paint a different picture.
They show that an attorney representing DENR resisted efforts made by conservationist groups, represented by the SELC, to join as partners in the state’s pending legal action against Duke.
Also, in a letter written by Skvarla to the Journal in response to a story in November about threats posed by coal ash statewide, Skvarla described the SELC as a lawsuit-thirsty outfit that should not be allowed to set state policy. The November story, citing conservation groups, said DENR sued Duke in 2013 over federal and state clean-water law violations at the company’s 14 power plant in part to thwart similar legal action that the SELC had intended to file.”
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