Delays in Falls Lake protections, loss of streamside buffers and ….garbage juice!?
The NC legislature reconvened on April 19th after a short Easter Break and bills have been moving at breakneck speed through committees to meet the self imposed “crossover-deadline.” This is the deadline set that requires bills to have passed from one chamber to the other. Those that do not cross over will be dead for this session (be wary though, any bill that did meet crossover could be stripped of its language and entirely new, unrelated bills can be inserted).
Priority- North Carolina Legislation
We have a slew of bad bills working their way through both chambers. It looks like we’ll soon be asking Governor Cooper to get his veto stamp ready. Help us take action today! Remember, if you talk to your NC Legislator or Member of Congress about clean water, we want to hear about it! Contact us and let us know what you said and what their response was!
Senate Bill 434, “Amend Environmental Laws 2” – This bill would roll back local governments’ authority to protect water quality using the proven method of riparian buffers in zoning, subdivision control, flood control, water supply watershed protection and special permits. It also includes provisions to repeal and effective and popular plastic bag ban on the Outerbanks. It also continues the delay of cleanup of Falls Lake. Oh and if you live on the Catawba River…bye-bye protected streamside buffers (seriously, why is this legislature so intent on allowing all streambanks to be clear cut!) This bill is so bad, we have a 2 page fact sheet to explain all the dirty details!
The bill passed out of the Senate and is currently in the House rules committee.
Please contact your Representatives and ask them to vote no on Senate Bill 434!
Senate Bill 131– Section 3.13 of this bill is a major concern. It opens the door for developers or anyone else to destroy 300 feet of any stream and river without consequence. This is particularly concerning in light of the current flooding in the Neuse and Tar Rivers. This bill will lead to INCREASED downstream flooding if it passes. This bill passed the House earlier in April. Since the bill originated in the Senate, it returned to that chamber for concurrence, which the Senate has now done.
Please contact your Senators and ask them to amend the bill to remove Section 3.13 to protect our water from further pollution and flooding. If the bill passes the Senate, be ready to ask asked Governor Cooper for a veto. Read more here.
House Bill 467– This bill would “prevent people living near the state’s numerous factory swine and poultry facilities from recovering more than token damages in civil lawsuits where the farm’s corporate owner is found responsible for harming them.” The House narrowly passed the bill and it now resides in the Senate. The bill was originally intended to protect the industry from 26 class action suits that were already in the courts against Murphy-Brown, a corporate powerhouse in NC. However, an amendment was approved in the House that will make the bill applicable only to new cases moving forward.
Just last night, the Senate passed the bill, all three readings, and it now heads back to the House for a concurrence vote, a likely outcome. In the Senate, the bill has passed its first hurdle, being voted out of the Senate Ag committee and is waiting a hearing date in the Senate Rules committee. With or without the amendment noted above, this is a bad bill.
Recent News Stories
Other concerning legislation
There’s a bill (H576) in the state legislature that would allow the spraying of landfill wastewater and fluids into the air without a permit! Toxicologist experts weighed in and noted “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near a leachate aeration basin. The downwind emissions would very likely contain a very wide range of toxic materials”. It didn’t take long for the bill to pass out of the House. It is now in the Senate Rules committee.
For more details, check out this fact sheet from the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Action! Please contact your senator and ask them to vote “no” on this bill.
To find your NC Representative or Senator, click this link:
People before Profits!
(from Waterkeeper Alliance)
Well, the polluter wish list is about as full as it can be. Top of the list are efforts to repeal or weaken environmental regulations. As part of the administration’s whole-scale regulatory rollback efforts, Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking comments from “the public” on “regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification.” It is clear that EPA is doing this to provide a forum for corporations and industry trade groups to give EPA their wishlist for destroying our nation’s health and environmental safeguards.
However, everyone can and should take advantage of this opportunity to push back, and thousands of people are already weighing in to tell EPA why clean air, water, and land must be protected. Over 5,000 comments have already been submitted and, of those available to view online, a vast majority are from average people speaking out for their right to clean air and water, and urging that environmental safeguards not be removed.
Please join in this effort and add your own comment by May 15th. Personal comments that convey your own unique perspective are very important. Here is a sample template that might help you get started:
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Regulatory Reform Task Force.” I am writing because I am concerned that this effort to “reduce, replace, or modify” regulations targets safeguards that impact the profits of companies without fully considering the benefits these safeguards bring to average Americans. The idea that environmental regulations are hurting our country stems from ideology, not fact. There is no evidence that environmental safeguards are preventing job growth or holding back our economy. However, there is ample evidence that environmental regulations have vastly improved the economy, health, and quality of life of Americans.
For example, the hundreds of millions of people that depend on clean water for their drinking water, livelihoods, and recreation have benefitted immensely from regulations reducing water pollution. The only entities that benefit from revoking or weakening these regulations are the companies that will be able to increase their profits by pushing pollutants – a cost of their operations that they should be required to account for – onto communities. The American public will then have to pay the financial and health costs of impacts like tainted drinking water sources, fish that are unsafe to eat, and recreational areas closed due to dangerously high pollution levels.
[INSERT YOUR PERSONAL MESSAGE FOR WHY PROTECTIONS FOR CLEAN WATER, AIR, AND LAND ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU]
I hope that, as you embark on this regulatory review process, you will listen to the people that will be hurt by losing the safeguards created by regulations, and not just to the companies that see this an opportunity to improve their profits.
Your Name (optional)
Want to learn more about EPA’s “Regulatory Reform” plan? Check out this website for information on meetings EPA is holding and background information.