Sierra Club Legislative report

 

Interested in what our NC General Assembly has been up to regarding the environment?  Here is a great guide from the NC Sierra Club.

North Carolina Sierra Club Report on January – June 2017 Legislative Session.

Interested in getting more involved in protecting North Carolina’s natural resources?  Join the Pisgah Sierra Club Projects Group at their next meeting on August 3, 2017.  You can find details here:  http://berightthere.info/event/pisgah-sierra-club-projects-group-meeting/2017-08-03/

Here is an excerpt from the report that gives an overview of the session.

Even in this tough legislative atmosphere, environmental advocates had achievements.

A number of unwise proposals were stopped, including (but not limited to):

● sweeping rollbacks of riparian buffers;
● excessive hurdles for siting solar farms;
● a four-year wind energy moratorium (through an 18-month moratorium passed);
and
● a proposal to open up state highways to more and bigger digital billboards.
And there were some positive developments, such as:
● a budget provision that improves the state’s lead surveillance program for young
children and pregnant women;
● a bill that streamlines dam removals to ease restoration projects;
● improved funding for oyster reef restoration; and
● authorization for the state to begin the process of adding a new Black River State
Park in Sampson, Bladen and Pender counties.

Unfortunately, we saw passage of legislative proposals that will have negative
environmental implications, including:

● an 18-month wind energy moratorium that does not allow two projects already
under way to move forward;
● a provision pushing DEQ to experimentally test chemical algaecides in major
drinking water reservoirs, Jordan and Falls lakes;
● a bill limiting recovery options for neighbors of hog farms who bring nuisance
cases forward for problems such as bad odors;
● rollbacks of stream mitigation and stormwater control rules that protect water
quality; and
● a bill that requires DEQ to allow the spraying of landfill wastewater (vetoed by
Governor Cooper).

Quite a few environmental proposals remain on the table and may be taken up in
August or September, including:

● repeal of the popular Outer Banks plastic bag ban that protects endangered sea
turtles and prevents litter;
● a provision that would limit citizen access to the courts to challenge
environmental permits;
● several unnecessary exemptions to riparian buffer and stormwater control rules
that protect water quality; and
● changes to mining permits to make them longer lasting with less opportunity for
the public to weigh in.
The NC Sierra Club would like to express appreciation to the many legislators who
stood up against bad environmental proposals, as well as to all our members and
supporters who contacted their elected representatives in support of good
environmental policy.