NC General Assembly Protects Corporate Polluters Over People

On Wednesday, June 27th, the NC General Assembly quickly voted to override the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 711, the Farm Act; voting to protect the interest of corporations over the property rights and public heath of people. The bill, a re-write of state public nuisance laws,  essentially creates sacrifice zones around industrial hog operations where homeowners would not be able to protect their family’s health or the use and enjoyment of their property.

Your Upper Neuse Riverkeeper stated, “This week has been another disappointing week at the general assembly. Our elected officials once again chose to protect polluters over people as they overrode Governor Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 711 which lays out the red carpet for industrial hog facilities.”

Governor Cooper vetoed the bill on Monday and issued this statement: “While agriculture is vital to North Carolina’s economy, so property rights are vital to people’s homes and other businesses. North Carolina’s nuisance laws can help allow generations of families to enjoy their homes and land without fear for their health and safety.  Those same laws stopped the Tennessee Valley Authority from pumping air pollution into our mountains. Our laws must balance the needs of businesses versus property rights. Giving one industry special treatment at the expense of its neighbors is unfair.”

“Families in North Carolina, long suffering from the impacts and dangers of having industrial animal facilities move in next door, will now be barred from defending their basic rights to clean water, air and a good quality of life”, noted Katy Langley, Lower Neuse Riverkeeper.

Following impassioned speeches by both Republicans and Democrats opposing the bill, the House voted 74-45 to override the veto and enact the new law. Moving forward, residents will have severely limited legal options to protect their health and property from the dangers of living near industrial animal agriculture operations.