Fishing for Facts – June 14, 2018
Lawmakers pass NC Budget That Does Little for Water Resources Protection; Delays Falls Lake Cleanup
Governor Cooper and NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) officials noted that the agency needed $14.5 million dollars allocated in this year’s budget to begin to deal with harmful contaminants, like the highly publicized GenX. Instead, the legislature passed a budget in June that provide little funding to DEQ and instead opted to send $5 million to the UNC collaboratory, set up by Senator Phil Berger’s former policy advisory. The collaboratory may be able to conduct some research, but they do not have the authority to take any actions to address actual pollution and cannot require industries to cleanup their pollution, only DEQ can do that.
After lobbying by chemical manufacturers, the bill actually limits the monitoring to only the class of chemicals similar to GenX and supplies DEQ with limited equipment capabilities. Other dangerous contaminants, like 1,4 dioxane a known carcinogen, are left out of the monitoring budget. In the end, the legislature continues its trend of underfunding our regulatory agency in charge of protecting our water resources.
In addition, the budget included a provision that delays the implementation of much needed pollution reduction measures for Falls Lake, the drinking water source for 570,000 people. This delay, the fifth since 2011, sets a deadline of 2024 for the writing of new pollution reduction rules.