Pinehurst Man Picked to Lead DENR
Gov.-elect Pat McCrory on Thursday began filling his Cabinet and chose a Pinehurst businessman to the top environmental post in the state.
John Skvarla will be secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. Skvarla is the CEO of Restoration Systems, a Raleigh-based company that does environmental mitigation work. He lives in Pinehurst.
In his role overseeing DENR, Skvarla will play an important part in how the state proceeds with fracking, the controversial method for extracting natural gas from below the earth’s surface.
Fracking, formally known as hydraulic fracturing, is important to Moore County because part of the county’s northern reaches and large parts of Lee County lie within a zone believed to have large underground deposits of natural gas.
The state last year approved fracking and set up a commission and process for creating regulations to oversee fracking. No drilling can be authorized until those regulations are in place.
McCrory also has advocated the possibility of drilling for oil and natural gas offshore, meaning Skvarla will have a role in that debate as it arises in the legislature.
Aldona Wos, a Greensboro physician and former U.S. Ambassador to Estonia, has been selected to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, one of the largest agencies in state government. Thomas Stith, a former Durham City Councilman who has headed McCrory’s transition team will serve as his chief of staff.
All three appointments were announced at a news conference held Thursday, the News & Observer reported.
“I am looking for talented individuals who can run government in the most effective way,” McCrory said in a news conference at his transition headquarters.
Skvarla has been active in local affairs. He is the former chairman of the Pinehurst Historic Preservation Commission.
Skvarla resigned his post as Historic Preservation Commission chair in May 2007 after residents on a local group opposing the roundabout at Carolina Vista questioned his residency.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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