Under the Dome

TV spot strikes back at Cooper over coal ash pollution

Dome is a little tardy in noting that Gov. Pat McCrory last week responded to a Roy Cooper commercial blaming the administration for poor coal ash regulation with his own TV commercial.

Cooper’s spot featured Dr. Megan Davies, who resigned her position as state epidemiologist in protest of how the administration blamed a public health toxicologist in a dispute over the safety of wells near coal ash plants.

McCrory’s retort blames Cooper, the attorney general, for failing to enforce environmental laws and ignoring the pollution threat from coal ash, while accepting more than $325,000 in contributions from the energy and natural resources industry, including Duke Energy, which owns the coal ash plants.

The ad is meant to steer the blame for leaking coal ash ponds away from McCrory, who worked for Duke Energy for close to 30 years.

McCrory’s ad features a Reidsville man who says he lives near a coal ash plant, and blames Cooper for ignoring the problem.

“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,” McCrory’s spokesman, Ricky Diaz, said in a statement accompanying the ad.

Cooper’s campaign spokesman, Ford Porter, responded on Wednesday.

“Governor McCrory is facing serious allegations and is desperate for a distraction after the state's top epidemiologist resigned saying she couldn't work for an administration that deliberately misleads people,” Porter said in an email. “Families deserve to know if their drinking water is safe and and the governor owes them answers.”

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO