Attorney General Roy Cooper is out with a new TV ad capitalizing on the resignation of the state’s epidemiologist over the safety of drinking water wells near coal ash plants.
“I cannot work for a department and an administration that deliberately misleads the public,” Dr. Megan Davies said in her resignation letter last month.
She resigned after state Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Health and Human Services leaders criticized state toxicologist Kenneth Rudo’s testimony in a deposition in a lawsuit involving coal ash pollution. Rudo and other state scientists disagreed with administration officials about how to communicate the risk of groundwater contamination to well owners.
Davies said the criticism portraying Rudo as a rogue scientist could undermine confidence in public health warnings.
The ad buy is in the six figures and will be broadcast statewide, according to the campaign.
“While Governor McCrory misleads the public and attacks scientists, North Carolinians are waiting for answers on the safety of our drinking water,” Jamal Little, Cooper campaign spokesman, said in a statement released with the TV ad. “Our state needs a leader who will tell the truth, and solve problems instead of trying to hide them and blaming others.”
McCrory’s campaign spokesman, Ricky Diaz, responded that Cooper had ignored the threat posed by leaking coal ash basins throughout his time in the General Assembly and as attorney general.
“Instead of playing politics with people's drinking water, Governor McCrory fought to have residents near coal ash pits hooked up to alternate water supplies at Duke Energy’s expense,” Diaz said. “Governor McCrory’s record is clear: he was the first governor to sue Duke Energy, impose record fines on the utility and is cleaning up coal ash once and for all.”