State epidemiologist resigns over coal ash controversy

Thursday, August 11, 2016
EMBED <>More Videos

Megan Davies wrote a scathing letter of resignation.

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Megan Davies, state epidemiologist resigned her position Wednesday in the wake of the coal ash controversy. Her resignation is effective immediately.

"Today, with great sadness, I resigned my position with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. In the interest of governmental transparency, I am sharing the letter explaining my reasons with you," Davies said.

Davies wrote that she felt compelled to step down because of misinformation and misrepresentation of the process the Department of Health and Human Services uses to "set health screening levels and provide public health recommendations to well owners whose wells were tested under the Coal Ash Management Act."

Davies also wrote that she "cannot work for a Department and an Administration that deliberately misleads the public."


Davies wrote that a letter from top members of Gov. Pat McCrory's administration falsely blamed a colleague for contributing to fear and confusion of people who live near the pits and whose well water is tainted with cancer-causing hexavalent chromium.

On Tuesday, state officials criticized state toxicologist Ken Rudo for his work urging people near the Duke Energy plants not to drink their well water. The officials blamed Rudo for "questionable and inconsistent scientific conclusions."

State officials reversed the warnings in March and said the water is safe.

"Today, we have accepted the resignation of Dr. Megan Davies," said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Rick Brajer on Wednesday evening. "We wish her well in her future endeavors.


"It is important for North Carolina citizens to know that, while there are differences of opinion and we respect those differences, ensuring citizens' safety and communicating are our top priorities," Brajer added. "Throughout this process, we've provided full information to homeowners about the safety of their drinking water and have taken appropriate steps to reassure citizens who had been unduly alarmed. We remain committed to the health and safety of our citizens."

Zack Moore, MD, MPH, pediatric infectious disease specialist and medical epidemiologist has assumed the role of acting Epidemiology Section Chief and State Epidemiologist, according to a statement from NC DHHS. Moore came to DHHS' Division of Public Health as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, then later transitioned to a medical epidemiologist position within the division.

Report a Typo