BREAKING: New testimony shows McCrory Administration pressured state scientists to downplay risk to drinking water

The Communications Director of the Department of Health and Human Services testified that she was directed by Governor McCrory’s senior staff to include language downplaying the risk of drinking water in a letter to families living near Duke coal ash ponds. The decision was made despite state scientists’ concerns that the water was toxic and recommendation to continue with do-not-drink orders..

The Governor’s Chief of Staff, Thomas Stith accused a state scientist, Dr. Ken Rudo, of perjury after he testified that he had been pressured to rescind do-not-drink orders. But the testimony of DHHS Communications Director Kendra Gerlach supports Dr. Rudo’s claims. Dr. Rudo’s boss, state epidemiologist Megan Davies, resigned in support of Rudo, saying she couldn’t continue to work for an administration that “deliberately misleads” people.

Governor McCrory’s cozy relationship with his former employer Duke Energy has raised serious questions. In Tuesday night’s debate, the Governor lied about a private dinner with Duke executives in June 2015, claiming that the meeting was to discuss his opposition to legislation that didn’t even exist.

“Governor McCrory has some serious questions to answer. It’s clear now that the Governor’s senior staff sought to overrule state scientists to downplay the risk of toxic drinking water near Duke coal ash ponds. It’s appalling that Governor McCrory would look the other way and put families’ health at risk,” said Cooper for NC Spokesman Ford Porter.