As if we needed any more evidence that Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is a fully “captured” tool of the very industries it’s supposed to be regulating, check out this interview with DEQ boss David Paylor. Keep in mind that Paylor is the same guy who “accepted Dominion gifts, including paid trip to Master’s tourney,” and who as this article by Peter Galuszka in the Washington Post explained, heads a department “that has long been soft on regulating big business,” and who “told Virginia Business magazine in 2012 that he prefers a light touch with regulation.”
So, in this morning’s interview with WFIR News Talk Radio, Paylor claimed:
- that “Friday’s action to suspend construction [on the Mountain Valley Pipeline] was not the result of public pressure“;
- (laughably) that Virginia DEQ holds the project “to very high standards”;
- that “these inspections were largely done on our own initiative”;
- and finally that “once Mountain Valley takes steps to better control erosion and sediment, the pipeline will get the green light to proceed again.”
So, in short, Paylor is saying that the massive public pressure which has been ongoing for months now had absolutely NOTHING to do with the the decision by DEQ and MVP to voluntarily, temporarily suspend construction on the pipeline; that DEQ is doing a great job; and that the MVP folks will – WILL, not might! – get the green light again once they do…whatever it is they’re voluntarily doing. Ugh.
I think it’s important to point out that Paylor’s claims to be wholly uninfluenced by public pressure – IF they are true, which I find dubious, especially given the heroic, relentless, months-long efforts by people who care about our environment to slow and/or stop these destructive/insane pipeline projects – are highly revealing of his mindset.
In short, that mindset seems to be the following: a) be extremely deferential/slavish to anything fossil fuel corporations want; b) go super easy on those corporations when they f*** up, such as in the case of the Mountain Valley Pipeline mess; c) NEVER admit that he cares in the least bit what the public, let alone anti-pipeline protesters, think, or that they’ve been “pressure” by said public/protesters in any way; and d) basically tell the public to drop dead as he serves the needs/wants of his fossil fuel corporate masters.
The question for Gov. Northam is simple: do you really want the face of your administration’s environmental policy to be Paylor’s sneering, anti-public/pro-corporate face? If so, why is that?