And the fox said, "Don't you worry, I'll keep an eye on these hens while you're away.":
Gillespie, who once bragged about drawing [a] target on his office window that overlooks the building that houses the department, replied that he would make sure enough staff was employed to develop and enforce the fracking regulations and then added that talks were underway with the American Petroleum Institute to fund some of the positions.
Hat tip to ISS's Facing South and Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policywatch for staying on top of this. For those not familiar with API:
The American Petroleum Institute (API) is the largest U.S. trade association for the oil and gas industry. It has been a major force behind the push to allow fracking in North Carolina.
It's also one of the biggest sources of pseudo-scientific bullshit that deniers and astroturfers feed on before regurgitating the stinky mess to both the mainstream media and elected officials.
But this is actually step two. Step one has been developing for the last few years:
Last year the Republican-controlled General Assembly made deep cuts to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, slashing its budget by 40 percent -- from $188.9 million to $114 million. The department also lost 26 percent of its employees, going from 3,918 to 2,899.
This "industry writing the paychecks of its own regulators" should be plastered all over the front pages of newspapers and their online entities, but I've yet to see it. As long as that huge oversight continues, the NC GOP will continue to sell out our future.
BlueNC is dedicated to making North Carolina a more progressive and prosperous state. If your intention is to disrupt this effort, please find somewhere else to express your opinions.