CCAN “Highly Skeptical” That DEQ Head can Lead its Own Internal Review; Calls on Paylor to Recuse Himself
RICHMOND, VA — Today, Governor Northam announced Executive Order 6, which instructs David Paylor, Director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, to perform a comprehensive review of DEQ’s permitting, monitoring, and enforcement activities.
Mike Tidwell, Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, stated:
“We agree with Governor Northam that the Department of Environmental Quality needs to be seriously reformed, so we commend him for that. However, we are highly skeptical that DEQ Director David Paylor can oversee this internal review in a fair and comprehensive manner.
“The DEQ is a broken agency, and Director David Paylor is the one that broke it. In his 12 years running the agency, he has regularly sided with polluters over the environment. He has accepted gifts from mega-polluter Dominion Energy and permitted polluter-friendly practices across the Commonwealth.
“The timing of this announcement is particularly painful for the landowners who live along the route of the Mountain Valley Pipeline for fracked gas, to which DEQ just gave final approval in a process widely viewed as flawed.
“We believe David Paylor should be replaced as DEQ Director. If Governor Northam keeps him on, however, Paylor should recuse himself from this much-needed agency review. We hope Governor Northam will consider turning the review over completely to the Secretary of Natural Resources in order to ensure real and substantive changes at the DEQ.”