Under the Dome

Environmentalists launch new TV campaign against McCrory

An environmental super PAC is buying air time for a new commercial attacking Gov. Pat McCrory over coal ash pollution.

Conservation Votes PAC says it is spending $700,000 on the TV ad, which will run on broadcast and cable in the Triad and Asheville from Thursday through Oct. 5.

The PAC says the buy brings its campaign against McCrory to almost $1.6 million in ads, direct mail and canvassing. The effort has included knocking on 115,000 doors in the Charlotte area.

The super PAC was formed in July and is an arm of the League of Conservation Voters that was established for November’s gubernatorial election. The League has been outspoken against McCrory and in support of Attorney General Roy Cooper.

The new ad contends McCrory has protected his former employer, Duke Energy, when it comes to cleaning up the utility’s coal ash ponds across the state. The accusation is not new, and the McCrory administration has responded that it has done more to clean up coal ash and hold Duke Energy accountable than any previous administration.

“While Roy Cooper let the coal ash problem fester for years and ignored the problems, Governor McCrory is cleaning it up and pushed to ensure residents near coal ash pits are connected to alternate water supplies at Duke Energy's expense,” the governor’s campaign spokeman, Ricky Diaz, said in an email. “Roy Cooper is politicizing people's drinking water, and shame on him.”

Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose candidates, but they cannot coordinate their efforts with candidates’ campaigns. The most recent state campaign finance reports show the League was the sole contributor at the time, having put $400,000 into the committee.

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO