#1 is this letter from attorney Frank Holleman of the Southern Environmental Law Center, which was sent to Gov. McCrory yesterday. It spells out in great detail where things stand, what the environmental advocates think needs to happen and expresses grave concerns about the consistently conflicting stories emanating from the Governor’s office and that of his Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, John Skvarla (as well as Skvarla’s apparent continuing failure to grasp the basic facts of the situation).
#2: If you read Chris Fitzsimon’s Friday Follies this morning, you know that Skvarla has still made no real public announcement of a promised task force to examine the state’s gigantic coal ash “pond” problem. As Chris noted:
“And then there’s this interesting nugget from the blog Coal Ash Chronicles. There is no mention at all on DENR’s website of the coal ash task force that DENR announced with some fanfare on February 11, nine days after the Dan River spill.
A news release from the department quoted Sec. Skvarla saying that the task force would “include experts in the areas of water resources, dam safety and solid waste management” and “be separate from the state’s ongoing review and decisions regarding appropriate enforcement actions against Duke Energy related to the spill.”
Coal Ash Chronicles has repeatedly asked for a list of the task force members, how they were chosen, a schedule of meetings, and information about the group’s first meeting which was apparently held on February 14.
Two weeks later, the Chronicles had received no response and there was no information about the task force available on the DENR website.”
Now comes word from Coal Ash Chronicles journalist Rhiannon Fionn-Bowman that DENR did finally send her the membership of the Task Force yesterday (even though the group has apparently been meeting for a while). As you can see from the reproduced list below, this is a group made up exclusively of DENR staff with no outside experts:
- Don Evans, DENR Division of Water Resources
- Donald Vandervaart, DENR Division of Energy, Mineral
- Jay Zimmerman, DENR Division of Water Resources
- Tom Reeder, DENR Division of Water Resources
- John Skvarla, DENR Administrator
- Sergi Chernikov, DENR Division of Water Resources
- Tracy Davis, DENR Division of Energy, Mineral
- Jeff Poupart, DENR Division of Water Resources
- Drew Elliot, DENR Communications Director
- Ed Mussler, DENR Division of Waste Management
- Dexter Matthews, DENR Division of Waste Management
- Lacy Presnell, DENR Administration
- Elizabeth Werner, DENR Division of Waste Management
- Steve McEvoy, DENR Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources
- Mitch Gillespie, DENR Administration
- Rick Bolich, DENR Division of Water Resources
- Toby Vinson, DENR Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources
- Layla Cummings, DENR Administration
- Michael Ellison, DENR Ecosystem Enhancement Program
It also includes Skvarla himself and former State Representative and current DENR administrator Mitch Gillespie (he of the bulls-eye target on DENR infamy).