Cooper appoints Delli-Gatti to new position following NC Senate vote

Gov. Roy Cooper briefs media at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh. Photo via N.C. Dept. of Public Safety

RALEIGH – Minutes after an afternoon NC Senate vote not to confirm his nominee to the N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality, Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Dionne Delli-Gatti as North Carolina Clean Energy Director.

The press release from Gov. Cooper’s office did not specify where the office will be located, who Delli-Gatti will report to, or other information about the position.

Cooper announced Delli-Gatti’s appointment on Feb. 16 this year.

“Dionne Delli-Gatti has the experience and qualifications to serve as Secretary of DEQ, and the legislature’s baseless political criticism of her credentials is but a smokescreen to thwart North Carolina’s transition to clean energy that she has the knowledge to help put in place,” said Gov. Cooper, blasting Senate Republicans. “I am pleased that Dionne will continue to serve our state in the role of North Carolina Clean Energy Director as we transition to renewable energy.”

“Our objection to Ms. Delli-Gatti isn’t over her views on a natural gas strategy or a proposed pipeline – it’s the fact that she was unable to articulate any views whatsoever,” state Sen. Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus) said.

Senate Republicans voted not to confirm Delli-Gatti during Thursday afternoon’s floor session. Several Republican state senators cited the lack of Delli-Gatti’s awareness of the Cooper administration’s position on natural gas and natural gas pipelines, saying there were concerns well before the Colonial Pipeline hack.

Republican senators also noted that 15 nominees have been confirmed by the body since the process was implemented in 2016.

Chief deputy secretary John Nicholson will serve as the interim DEQ secretary. He has been at the department since 2017 and is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel.

Delli-Gatti tweeted shortly after the announcement, channeling Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, writing “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.