Editorial: Customer service questions

Apr. 23, 2014 @ 11:02 PM

Gov. Pat McCrory’s quest for less regulation and friendlier customer services to generate business has been under the microscope since he took office. The beneficiaries of Kerr Lake’s assets — all of us — are watching intently as his policies get closer to our backyard.

If we only have to deal with these policies and not the arrival of coal ash, we’ll have dodged a bullet.

Across the state, we’ve heard the cries for revving our economic engine. Political leaders have made choices. Unemployment has declined. News this week indicates more jobs are in place than a year ago. Our leaders are justified in claiming the Old North State has done better than many in economic recovery.

That’s good news, as long as we don’t have to pay the price later.

Tonight in Perry Memorial Library, coal ash and its Feb. 2 spill impact on Kerr Lake will be the subject of a discussion. While it’ll lean environmental friendly, it should also be informative, including to our locally elected leaders and many business-oriented interests.

The Charlotte Observer’s report on Sunday showed how lackadaisical coal ash has been treated long before McCrory stepped into office. There is minimal regulation on wet or dry ash, both of which have been used as fill material in many places. Keeping up with those locations hasn’t been a priority. Many places are still unknown.

The report even showed property transactions could leave a landowner unknowingly on top of coal ash fill, unaware of possible groundwater hazards or even the need to test. This is just one example.

McCrory and lawmakers have the responsibility to encourage business development and sustainability while also being accountable environmentally. That is a tough line to straddle. News in the first 15 months of McCrory’s tenure hasn’t been encouraging for environmentalists.

Duke Energy’s pollution of the Dan River did more than magnify their concerns. It drew in thousands along the Dan and more than a million who rely on Kerr Lake.

So far, tests for the lake are satisfactory. But the advocates tonight are asking for more — sediment dams in the Dan and vacuum dredging.

It is imperative for North Carolinians, and Virginians along the Dan, to be the customers getting the best service.