Legislative Power Grab and Anti-Environmental Bill Troubling!
Your efforts over the past years to protect our rivers have been remarkable. After the election, I had a glimmer of hope that a new incoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Secretary would restore science and integrity to this agency and eliminate the polluter first mindset. However, what is happening in Raleigh this week, and what will happen today, is very, very troubling.
On a party line vote, lawmakers invoked a 4th special session yesterday, with the sole intent of doing two things. One, greatly limiting the incoming Governors’ authority and two, passing a regulatory reform bill.
First, if the legislative leadership is successful with this power grab, any incoming DEQ Secretary will have to be approved by the anti-environmental Senate, a move that is unprecedented in NC’s history. If these bills are passed today, and given the makeup of the General Assembly, we could go for four years without a Secretary for DEQ. This would result in poor services for the citizens of North Carolina and likely less protections for our natural resources that make this state great!
Second, the filed regulatory reform bill (House Bill 3) will be much worse for NC’s creeks and streams. This bill would allow developers, mining industry, etc to impact twice as much stream (up to 300 ft from the current requirement of 150 ft) without having to do any mitigation to offset this damage. This action is at complete odds after the assembly just passed a $200 million dollar fund for flood relief and are now intent on passing a bill that will increase flooding, impact our drinking water supplies and make water quality in this state overall much worse.
Can you call the state House and Senate right now and tell them that you’re opposed to this crass abuse of power?
Reply back this email to let me know when you’ve called. Here’s a sample script (make it your own):
“Hi, my name is _________ and I’m calling from __(city)__, NC. Thank you for passing the hurricane recovery package. There is nothing else that requires urgent attention. You need to adjourn and return in January. In particular, you should not undercut the vote of the people of NC by taking away any of the Governor’s current appointment powers. Thank you.”
Let me know if you hear anything back from your legislator.
On behalf of all the Riverkeepers, Staff and Board of Directors at Sound Rivers, thank you for your efforts!