Environment

At a weird meeting, Gov. McCrory warns ag board about “environmental extremists”

Ag Bill signing_1_0

Gov. McCrory signs the farm bill after making odd remarks about environmental extremists. (Photo from the governor’s office.)

This week’s agriculture board should have been a snooze. Instead, it was a doozy. On the agenda were two ceremonial items: Governor Pat McCrory would sign the farm bill and Associate Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby would swear in new board members. And then, the board would delve into a mind-numbing discussion of ag rules, including those on pen-raised quail and garbage-fed swine.

But McCrory opened his remarks with an odd pronouncement:

“A lot of work being done by extremist environmental groups” which, although not naming names, McCrory said, are planning attacks on the state’s agribusinesses.

“I’m concerned about what I’m seeing behind the scenes,” McCrory went on. “I’m looking for input from you [the agricultural board] about from where and why these assaults are coming. We can’t have these types of people putting us out of business.”

NCPW contacted the governor’s press office by phone and email to elicit more information about the identity of the groups and the source of his information. No one from the press office has returned our messages.

McCrory also used the ag board pulpit to assail the Environmental Protection Agency over its new Clean Water Rule. The rule adds and clarifies protections of waterways that have been historically covered under the Clean Water Act: tributaries, wetlands, and waters that connect with oceans and rivers that cross state lines.

“It’s pretty extensive federal government intervention,” McCrory said. “We need to stop or revise it. The EPA is getting more involved in our state’s rivers and streams. It could have major ramifications for the agricultural community.”

However, the EPA is clear that the new rule doesn’t require any new permitting from farmers and retains most of the agricultural exemptions. In fact, many agricultural practices, such as planting, harvesting and moving livestock, have been exempt from the Clean Water Act.

The meeting was odd from the get-go, when Justice Paul Newby swore in three new agriculture board members. Bible in hand, Newby invoked state General Statute 11. Article 1 of the statute defines oaths as “being most solemn appeals to Almighty God, as the omniscient witness of truth and the just and omnipotent avenger of falsehood.”

“This is a reminder that God sees everything,” Newby added. “You can never fool God.”

Assuming that’s true, that means God also saw the $2 million that poured into Newby’s campaign coffers in 2012. A regular on the tea party circuit, Newby received contributions from conservative groups and super PACs, such as the , the NC Judicial Coalition, Justice for All and the Republican State Leadership Committee, which were trying to influence the ostensibly nonpartisan elections.

The RSLC  spearheaded the redistricting maps that favored Republicans. These are the same maps that came before the state supreme court — of which, again, Newby is an associate justice — to rule on their constitutionality.

With that as context, consider Newby’s money quote as he cautioned incoming board members about the temptations of public service. “People have long through public office is for personal gain,” Newby said. “But you have put personal self-gain aside. It’s a difficult thing to do.”

One Comment


  1. Tony Dockery

    July 31, 2016 at 8:25 am

    NC republican lawmakers are the most vile evil corrupted crooks to ever walk the floors of the state house…..2016…They must all be voted out.

Check Also

Burlington, Haw River Assembly reach agreement on PFAS contamination; Pittsboro blood results to be released tomorrow

The Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

One month after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, having argued that the nation needs [...]

Recent rejection of proposed Wake charter reveals a system that can get messy, contentious and perso [...]

Wallace Cheves, whose previous legal troubles include millions in civil fines, used this money to cl [...]

Company proposes to process old railroad ties in low-income Richmond County locale already burdened [...]

“Just make it end!” That’s what many Americans are thinking and saying right now about a lot of thin [...]

With North Carolinians on track to cast eye-popping numbers of votes in advance of Election Day, Nov [...]

In the rush to replace Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, we’ve heard [...]

The post The Plans… appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]