DHHS Deputy Sec’y Randall Williams, involved in coal ash controversy, appointed to oil and gas commission

Randall Williams, deputy DHHS secretary, headed to state’s oil and gas commission. (Photo: DHHS)

Now here’s a career move: Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Randall Williams, a gynecologist/obstetrician, has joined the state’s Oil and Gas Commission. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed 13 people to state boards and commissions today — with less than 30 hours left in office.

This is the same Randall Williams who was a central figure in crafting the language in the “do drink” letters to well owners whose water might have been contaminated by coal ash from Duke Energy. Those letters, which rescinded previous “do not drink” advisories, downplayed the health risks of hexavalent chromium in drinking water.

This is the same Randall Williams who, along with Tom Reeder, assistant secretary for the environment, signed an editorial lambasting state toxicologist Ken Rudo, alleging that he lied under oath about how the language was settled on, including the governor’s involvement.

Depositions from DHHS Communications Director Kendra Gerlach, Williams state epidemiologist Megan Davies (who resigned in protest of Rudo’s treatment), and Josh Ellis, McCrory’s communications director, later showed the Rudo had not lied. Thomas Stith, McCrory’s chief of staff, even acknowledged he hadn’t read Rudo’s deposition when he accused him of perjury, which is a felony. Rudo was never charged.

McCrory also appointed Wake County attorney Stanford D. Baird, who has legal expertise in fracking, to the oil and gas commission.

Baird is a partner in the Raleigh office of K&L Gates , where he environmental litigation and regulatory matters, including real estate. His representative work, according to the K&L website, includes defending a legal challenge to a cement manufacturer’s air permit and representing a “global manufacturer in water pollution enforcement action by federal, state, and local authorities.”

Baird also has a secondary interest in renewable energy, but most of his work — and the firm’s environmental focus –is defending companies and polluters, and advising their clients when named in citizen lawsuits.

From the K&L website:

“Baird regularly advises manufacturing clients regarding environmental regulatory and compliance matters. He routinely negotiates with state and federal environmental agencies on behalf of private parties, handles administrative appeals, enforcement defense, and permitting matters, and oversees environmental due diligence and clean-up activities. Baird also counsels stakeholders regarding the development of shale gas resources.

He is also honored as one of Environmental Law’s Best Lawyers from 2007-2014. He serves on the North Carolina Bar Association (Environmental Law Section Council) was the City of Raleigh Environmental Awards, Chair from 2008-2010 and the City of Raleigh Environmental Advisory Board from 2006-2010.”





  1. JJS

    December 30, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Williams is the one when asked if it was unanimous to retract the do-not-drink letter said… “I don’t like the word unanimous. I’d like to call it a consensus”.


    December 31, 2016 at 5:37 am

    Sounds to me like just more deregulation an privitization as that is all these rethuglicans are instrested in is the protection of their special instrest groups an the urgent governor is walking in lock step with them an the instrest of the citizens of this state an their health an welfare be dammed as these rethuglicans could care less about them all they want is protection of their corporate whores instrest as they are the ones involved in making campaign donations to these politicans cam you say quid pro quo one hand washes the other you cover my ass an I will cover yours


    December 31, 2016 at 5:48 am

    The new incoming governor need to look into the job position handed out to mccorkier chief of staffs office in the industrial commission with a huge state salary where the states taxpayers are footing the bill for this salary of 126,000.00 dollars per year for eight years that a real bundle if you ask me .it needs to be looked into. An corrected if possible to protect the instrest of this states citizens thank you


    December 31, 2016 at 5:54 am

    The formerchant head of the ncdeq knew that he,was serVing at the pleasure of the out going governor so I say it is time to send his Ass down the road kicking cans an do not let him hang around to obstruct the In coming governors office from carrying out his agenda get rid of him do it now

  5. keely wood

    December 31, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Are you F* in kidding me? A gynecologist to sit on the Oil & Gas commission? Maybe he can read the other state health studies that prove all the health problems associated with being near fracking like miscarriages, asthma, etc. But A lawyer who defends polluters? What a joke.

  6. Terica Luxton

    December 31, 2016 at 10:50 am

    No Fracking Way , Randall Williams and other key administration officials “were willing to completely undermine the credibility of the entire public health system in North Carolina in order to protect whatever it was they were protecting(NOT THE PEOPLE) , the chance of reelection maybe .”
    Folks even tried to get that creep to resign.

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