Environmental Community Responds To DEQ Secretary’s Letter To Incoming Trump Administration

Guest Blog | November 21, 2016 | Energy Policy
RALEIGH – A coalition of environmental advocacy groups responded to a letter sent November 16, 2016 by current NC DEQ Secretary Donald van der Vaart and others to President-Elect Donald Trump with the following joint statement:

Mr. van der Vaart does not represent the views of the environmental advocates or experts in North Carolina. As part of an outgoing administration, he does not represent the will of the people of North Carolina. Voters across the state have rejected the failed policies of the past four years, including policies that prioritized the profits and motives of polluters over the needs of average citizens.

A cornerstone of the McCrory administration’s environmental policy has been to argue repeatedly that state rules and regulations should be weak, pointing to minimum federal requirements as a ceiling rather than a floor for how far a state should go to protect its citizens. Now that Mr. Trump has been elected and will be taking the reins of the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. van der Vaart conveniently suggests that the EPA should defer to states on setting minimums. Of course, this would almost certainly lead to weaker standards and even more damage to the environment van der Vaart purports to protect.

There should be no question that the environmental community in North Carolina stands strong and united against the past efforts of the McCrory administration and his appointees to erode the safeguards protecting clean air, clean water, and public health. This letter speaks neither for us nor for the new administration, which can speak for itself.

We are counting on state and federal agencies to do their jobs – enforce our long standing environmental laws and protect the people of North Carolina and the nation as a whole.

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