Over the past 30 years the governors of North Carolina have enabled the swine and poultry industries to expand and pollute the environment. At the same time, most of them recognized and acknowledged the harmful impacts of their decisions. History will never forget or excuse what took place. Below is a short synopsis of their actions.
James Baxter Hunt Jr. (born May 16, 1937) was the 69th and 71st Governor of North Carolina 1977–1985, and 1993–2001). He is the longest-serving governor in the state's history. (source Wikipedia)
It was during Governor Hunt's terms of service that the hog and poultry industries' growth exploded in North Carolina. Most of this took place in the state's coastal plain (east of Interstate 95). The Governor was said to be a close friend of Hog Barron Wendell Murphy. Many attributed the lack of controls during this period to that friendship.
The poultry industry was developing under the radar and received very little attention. This unfortunate practice continues through the present time. However, hog pollution was front and center and there were many public swine demonstrations during the Governor's third term. Most took place in the state's capital, Raleigh. The public became well informed as the print and TV media were constantly reporting on the hog industry's harmful impacts. It was during this time that the Raleigh News and Observer's Pulitzer Prize winning article, Boss Hog, exposed the industry's polluting and ethical problems. https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/news-observer-raleigh-nc
Looking back, it appears that Governor Hunt thought the hog and poultry industries would serve the state well. As time passed and the devastating impacts mounted, the Governor had a change of heart.
At the end of Governor's Hunt's term, to the dismay of the hog industry, he had published on the State's Government website the following:
Michael Francis Easley (born March 23, 1950) is an American lawyer and politician who served as the 72nd governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from January 2001 to January 2009. He is the first governor of North Carolina to have been convicted of a felony. Easley was a member of the Democratic Party. (source Wikipedia)
To secure his election, Governor Easley deceived the citizens of North Carolina by stating that he would eliminate the swine industry’s lagoons and spray fields within five years of being elected. He made this commitment in an formal white letter that was widely disseminated prior to his election. There is no known evidence reflecting that he intended to keep that promise. In fact, there were more hog factories in North Carolina after he served as governor. As a result, Governor Easley was vilified during many citizen demonstrations. He is widely known within environmental circles as, Pinocchio.
Beverly Eaves Perdue, January 14,1947, is an American businesswoman, politician and member of the Democratic Party, who served as the 73rd Governor of North Carolina from 2009 to 2013.
Perdue started her political career in the 1980s, serving in the North Carolina House of Representatives. She then served five terms in the North Carolina Senate before she was elected as the 32nd Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina .
Perdue was elected to the office of Governor of North Carolina in 2008 against Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory by a 50–46 margin.
On January 26, 2012, facing sinking approval ratings, Perdue announced that she would not seek reelection in the 2012 gubernatorial election . She left office in January 2013 (source Wikipedia)
The citizens of North Carolina had great expectations regarding Governor Perdue. Unfortunately, they were not to be realized. After assuming office, Governor Perdue refused to become involved in any way to reform the pollution practices of the swine and poultry industries.
Governor Perdue is from eastern North Carolina and was personally aware of the devastating impacts that the industrial swine and poultry industries imposed on the water, air, land and communities. She had flown over these facilities in airplanes with the Neuse Riverkeeper on several occasions. She clearly understood how they negatively impacted citizens who were forced to suffer the inhalation of swine and poultry odors and their dangerous contents. She was aware of the horrific fish kills in the Neuse and Trent Rivers ,where she had her permanent residence. She had seen, up close and personal, the consequences related to the industries' pollution discharges, including those related to the algae growth that covered waterways. She knew about how many citizens living near these facilities had swine waste sprayed on their yards and houses. She knew, but did nothing.
Over time, environmental organizations and North Carolina citizens were greatly confused as to the cause of Governor Perdue's inaction. However, the reason for that soon became clear when Governor Perdue appeared as the guest speaker at a hog industry conference held in Greenville, North Carolina. There, glowing remarks were made about how helpful Governor Perdue was to the sustainability of the swine industry. Before speaking in laudatory terms about the industry, Governor Perdue and an industry leader exchanged an appreciative hug. Things then became very clear.
On Monday, July 6, 2009 a letter supported by 25 organizations and signed by 33 individuals was hand delivered to Governor Perdue. The letter called on the state to establish an independent Task Force to examine the link between swine flu and factory farming as well as other health impacts to the general public. The swine flu was reported to have developed on a swine facility in eastern North Carolina.
Repeated attempts were made to meet with the Governor--she refused to be involved in any way with health or environmental issues related to this industry. In spite of the growing data that suggested serious health concerns associated with industrial swine production, she never took any action to establish the Task Force or investigate any of the the emerging health issues.
Patrick Lloyd McCrory (born October 17, 1956) is an American businessman, politician, and radio host who served as the 74th Governor of North Carolina from January 2013 to January 1, 2017. He served as the 53rd Mayor of Charlotte from 1995 to 2009, and was appointed by President George W. Bush to the United States Homeland Security Advisory Council from 2002 to 2006. (source Wikipedia). The citizens rejected him as he attempted to secure a second term of office.
Immediately upon assuming office, Governor McCrory quickly became known as a good friend of polluters. He showed no interest in environmental stewardship and was identified in corrupt activities by the media .Show Article . From the outset, Governor McCrory was in bed with the hog and poultry industries and showed no desire to reform their pollution practices. They were his friends and close associates. Nowhere is that better demonstrated than in this You Tube video.
Roy Asberry Cooper III is an American politician and attorney serving as the 75th Governor of North Carolina since January 1, 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Cooper had previously served as the elected Attorney General of North Carolina since 2001. Prior to that, he served in the General Assembly in both the North Carolina House of Representatives and the North Carolina Senate. He defeated Republican incumbent Pat McCrory for the governorship in the 2016 election. (source Wikipedia)
Governor Cooper has been in office for three years and has shown the kind of leadership that clearly works on behalf of the state's citizens. His actions indicate that he is not anti-industry, but rather, anti-polluter. Unfortunately, his leadership has been strongly opposed by the state's General Assembly. This governmental body comprised mostly of Republicans, has passed numerous laws that benefit the swine and poultry industry, including ag gag, anti-photo/video of industrial operations and use of drones for surveillance. Worse yet, they have reversed most all of the good legislation passed over the last 25 years that protected the environment and citizens against the impacts of pollution. To his credit, Governor Cooper has vetoed all of this adverse legislation. Unfortunately, most all of his vetoes have been overridden. To say that North Carolina's General Assembly is acting as the legislative arm of the swine and poultry industries would not be an overstatement. As to where the Democratic Party stands on supporting the swine industry, see the following: