The new head of North Carolina's environmental agency is trying to persuade businesses and Republican legislators that things will be different at his department after years of their frustrations and suspicions.
John Skvarla is secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. He's been telling lawmakers he's out to earn their trust and respect. He says he wants to treat businesses seeking development permits like customers.
Skvarla most recently was CEO of a company that restored wetlands and protected streams, in turn helping developers get environmental permits to build elsewhere.
He says agency regulators have been too zealous in siding with the environment at times while forgetting that businesses seeking permits create jobs. But Skvarla says rules and regulations still must be followed.
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