The people in Wilmington who get their drinking water from the Cape Fear River have plenty of reasons to be concerned about the ongoing GenX crisis, but of course, the truth of the matter is that water pollution and our eviscerated state environmental protection efforts are a problem for all of us. Thus, while it was predictable that the Wilmington Star News would editorialize yesterday against the absurd Republican efforts to deny the state Department of Environmental Quality the tools it needs to lead a clean up, it was also wholly logical for the Greensboro News & Record to weigh in as well. Here are some key excerpts from two fine editorials.
After detailing the desultory and pathetically partisan efforts of local New Hanover County Republicans, the Star News concludes this way:
“You see, the DEQ — which continues to have its budget whacked by the very Republicans who criticize it for not doing its job — is currently under the leadership of a Democratic administration. The priority for [Republican lawmakers] [Michael] Lee, [Ted] Davis and [Holly] Grange, therefore, has to be to follow the marching orders of Berger and Moore and try to make the governor’s office look bad. On the other hand, we guess that’s what you rely on when you know your supermajority is based on unconstitutional gerrymandered election districts.
But wait a minute — isn’t there another Wilmington representative from our area who could be help out or at least have some input?
Oh, that’s right. We forgot that Rep. Deb Butler — despite literally begging to be appointed to one of the committees investigating GenX — belongs to the governor’s party. She’s been told to butt out.
That’s right from the playbook we’ve come to expect Berger and Moore to use. We had hoped for better from Lee, Davis and Grange on the entire GenX response.
As we said, we’ve been terribly naive.”
“House Speaker Tim Moore reacted harshly to the veto: ‘It defies belief that Gov. Cooper is still making the false claim that GenX contamination is related to recent state budgets, and more shocking that he would reject emergency funds intended to protect the citizens of the Cape Fear region to continue this irrelevant assertion,’ he said.
Cooper didn’t claim that the GenX problem happened because of budget cuts. Rather, the state’s ability to respond is hampered because it’s been given less funding for regulatory work by an anti-regulatory legislature.
Ironically, it was Moore who blamed inadequate government action: ‘The GenX crisis is decades in the making due to the failure of state agencies — spanning multiple, bipartisan administrations back to the 1980s — to properly regulate clean water resources in North Carolina,’ he said in a statement.
In that case, Moore should lead a legislative effort to replace HB 56 with a better bill that empowers appropriate state agencies to address the GenX problem and also begins to restore their ability to properly safeguard our state’s precious water resources.
Threats have been decades in the making. GenX won’t be the last. It’s time to strengthen the state’s ability to regulate them before people are harmed.”