Meet the environmental "regulator" who hates science
In 2012, North Carolina’s newly elected Republican governor, Pat McCrory, announced the appointment of a businessman named John Skvarla to head the state’s environmental regulatory agency. For several reasons, the move worried environmentalists. Skvarla has expressed doubts about the science behind climate change and has peddled the obscure theory that crude oil is an infinite, renewable resource. He has insisted that the agency he now leads has been long regarded as the primary obstacle to economic growth in the state. Last summer he stated that if environmentalists were to get their way “we’d live in lean-tos and wear loincloths.”
And the day before assuming the leadership of the agency (N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, or DENR), Skvarla said he knew little about coal ash pollution, an issue dear to environmentalists in North Carolina.
During the course of 2013, Skvarla’s agency interceded to stop multiple citizen lawsuits against Duke Energy for its mishandling of the coal ash, despite outcry from environmentalists.