DENR abandons pretense of environmental protection

John Skvarla, the fox in charge of the DENR henhouse, already told us that he had a "new mission" in mind for his agency's water quality division.

Now we see more clearly what that new mission is: completely ignore water quality issues. If water becomes polluted, we'll stick our heads in the sand. Because we wouldn't want to know about any harm that Skvarla's corporate profiteer buddies are doing to the environment in their quest for more almighty dollars.

North Carolina applied for a federal grant to monitor water quality that might be poisoned by fracking. The grant was approved.

Then Skvarla turned down the grant. Yes, refused it -- because it was "not needed for the division to meet our core mission".

It's another area in which North Carolina is now the most extreme state in the nation:

It’s the first time a state in EPA's Southeast region has refused a grant since the program started in 1996, an agency spokesperson in Atlanta said. North Carolina could be the only state in the country to ever decline the grants.

Thanks for making us #1, John. How do you sleep at night?

Additional commentary at BackwardNC (Sep. 23 entry).


Core mission

If monitoring water quality is not the core mission, what is?
Speaking of which, has the Mission Statement been re-written since Skvarla took the helm?

Previous Mission Statement for DENHR

In case you were curious, DEHNR HAS changed its mission statement since the Tea Party took over the office.
HERE is the document from 2010

Here is what the mission statement from 2010 says:
To conserve and protect North Carolina’s natural resources and to maintain an environment of high quality by providing valuable services that consistently support and benefit the health and economic well-being of
all citizens of our state.
Through innovation, teamwork, customer focus and partnerships, we lead the way to accomplish our mission and to secure the future of:
• a cleaner environment;
• sustained natural resources;
• healthier lives;
• thriving ecosystems;
• a stronger economy; and
• a valued state agency

Here's what it says NOW. Note the emphasis on business.

It is recognized that the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources' primary mission is to protect North Carolina's environment and natural resources. In executing this mission, DENR operates with the broad-based understanding that the following three fundamental principles are integral components of its protective mandate.

Fundamental Philosophy: In its essence, DENR is a service organization. Whether managing parks and zoos or issuing permits, agency personnel, operating within the confines of the regulations, must always be a resource of invaluable public assistance, rather than a bureaucratic obstacle of resistance.

Fundamental Economics: Acknowledging that a traditional cost/benefit analysis is not always fully applicable to matters of the environment and public recreation, the agency will be continually cognizant that an economic cost/benefit analysis is an integral component of DENR's public service endeavor.

Fundamental Science: That all decisions are made with a respect and understanding that environmental science is quite complex, comprised of many components, and most importantly, contains diversity of opinion. In this regard, all public programs and scientific conclusions must be reflective of input from a variety of legitimate, diverse and thoughtful perspectives.

The Outcome
That a collaborative stewardship among the citizens, government regulators and the business community will maintain and enhance North Carolina's environment and natural resources for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone living in or visiting our great state.

In other words ...

We'll talk to our friends and do whatever the hell we want. Science is no more or less important than what a bunch of ideologues think.

Another translation

The environment is OK and all that, but what's really important is economics ($ for corporations), and science is just opinions.

Wow. That is one scary overhaul of a mission statement

"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis