North Carolina Senate candidate Thom Tillis is making an unusual argument — for a Republican. In recent weeks, he’s accused his Democratic opponent, Sen. Kay Hagan, of sabotaging critical environmental regulations because of her “cozy relationship” with a powerful energy company. At the same time, Tillis has trumpeted his own role in fighting for what he claims are tough new rules that will clean up the coal industry.
But North Carolina environmentalists say he’s full of it. “That’s pretty bold, as a line of attack, considering the environmental record he’s got,” says DJ Gerken, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.
The back-and-forth is the latest skirmish in the political war over one of the worst environmental disasters in the state’s history. In February, a toxic waste dump at one of Duke Energy’s coal-fired power plants ruptured and belched up to 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River. Thousands of people lost access to drinking water, and the river was polluted with toxins like lead and arsenic. In response to the disaster, Tillis — who leads the state’s GOP-co... Read more