John Skvarla: Economic growth key for environmental support

August 26, 2013 

Jokes, not insults

I read in a Aug. 23 letter that a member of an environmental advocacy group has demanded my resignation. It seems I made the point – one I have articulated in jest to the environmental community many times – that if we seriously implemented all the environmentalists’ positions on all the issues, we would be forced to live a primitive existence.

What you cleverly failed to report was the remainder of my statement: that environmentalists don’t really want that, either, and that environmental and economic interests can and should find common ground. I reject the idea that a strong economy and a clean environment are incompatible goals and believe we must have a strong economy to have the resources and public support to maintain and enhance the environment. Likewise, a healthy environment is the foundation for a strong economy. Clean air and water and usable natural resources attract people and businesses to our state.

The letter-writer somehow felt I insulted those “who work hand in glove to cultivate growth and preserve our environment.” Considering that the title of my remarks the other day was “protecting the environment while growing the economy,” I can’t imagine where he got that idea.

John Skvarla

Secretary, N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources


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