North Carolina Democrat Cal Cunningham’s family business repeatedly ranked among the state’s top polluters. The candidate now presents himself as an environmental champion in his bid to unseat Republican senator Thom Tillis (N.C.).
Cunningham was a shareholder in the now-defunct Cunningham Brick Company as recently as 2015, court documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show. According to emissions reports filed with the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, the company released at least 1,700 tons of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and other harmful substances between 1993 and 2011, making it a major polluter in the state.
Cunningham has since placed environmental issues at the center of his campaign, railing against “longstanding” environmental disparities that disproportionately impact the state’s “communities of color.” But Cunningham Brick was ranked among the state’s top 40 air polluters by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2009, having released more than 114,000 pounds of “toxic” emissions.
Cunningham and other shareholders acknowledged the company’s environmental woes in a May 2015 court filing obtained by the Free Beacon. In the filing, Cunningham Brick noted that it was “aware of environmental issues” caused by “approximately 27,500 tons of contaminated soil” that “needed to be remediated” at a company plant in Thomasville, N.C. A subsequent filing noted that the cleanup effort would cost $400,000.
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