Attorney General Roy Cooper is expected to challenge Governor Pat McCrory for governor in 2016. But on Wednesday, McCrory challenged Cooper.
In Charlotte for a forum, he told reporters that Cooper should stay out of the controversy over Duke Energy's coal ash ponds and who should pay to move them away from drinking water sources.
"I frankly think it's inappropriate for that office to comment on this," McCrory said, "because they are involved in the process both past, present and future."
Cooper recently announced that he would fight for Duke Energy's customers if the utility tries to pass along the costs of cleaning up its ash ponds to them. McCrory, who worked for Duke for decades, says politicians don't have the right to intervene in the ratemaking process.
"What we don't need to do is have every politician get involved in the details of that because they themselves are not going through the complex study that this engineering and environmental issue deserves," McCrory said.
Cooper is traveling and couldn't comment, but his reps say McCrory is just plain wrong, pointing to state law 62-20, which gives Cooper authority to intervene in Utilities Commission matters.
McCrory says still it's that commission that should have the final say on who pays for the cleanup. "That's what the process should be," he said.
He says that's why he won't get involved.
"As governor, I need to respect that process," McCrory said.
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