North Carolina has moved forward with a decision to cut 13 percent of the agency responsible for protecting water resources even as one of the nation’s largest coal ash spills continued to devastate rivers in the state.

Last month, the Duke Energy plant in Eden discovered that gray coal ask sludge was leaking out of a storage pond into the Dan River.

Gov. Pat McCrory (R), a former executive at Duke Energy, has been criticized for his close ties to the company, and for receiving more than $1 million in campaign donations from the company and its employees.

The News & Observer reported last week that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had eliminated 13 percent of the staff positions from the Division of Water Resources only weeks after the coal spill was discovered.

According to its website, the Division of Water Resources is tasked with protecting ‘North Carolina’s surface and ground water resources for the health and welfare of the citizens of North Carolina, and the economic well-being of the state.”

In an interview with WSOC, McCrory insisted that he was doing everything possible to safeguard the environment.

‘Our DENR under our administration has taken the most aggressive action in North Carolina history,” […]

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