"Ash Spill Shows How Watchdog Was Defanged"

"RALEIGH, N.C. — Last June, state employees in charge of stopping water pollution were given updated marching orders on behalf of North Carolina’s new Republican governor and conservative lawmakers."

"'The General Assembly doesn’t like you,' an official in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources told supervisors called to a drab meeting room here. 'They cut your budget, but you didn’t get the message. And they cut your budget again, and you still didn’t get the message.'

From now on, regulators were told, they must focus on customer service, meaning issuing environmental permits for businesses as quickly as possible. Big changes are coming, the official said, according to three people in the meeting, two of whom took notes. 'If you don’t like change, you’ll be gone.'"

Trip Gabriel reports for the New York Times February 28, 2014.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014