60 NC Conservation Groups Identify Most Egregious Anti-Environmental Bills Moving Through General Assembly

Published Monday, June 3, 2013 at 10:31 am

June 3, 2013. From the Blue Ridge to the Outer Banks and everywhere in between, North Carolina’s clean air, clean water and unparalleled quality of life have made it a special place and the envy of so many other states in the Southeast and beyond.

But over-reaching politicians and short-sighted politics in Raleigh are now putting the state’s renowned quality of life – and its future – at risk.

In the remaining weeks of the legislative session, the General Assembly and the McCrory administration are moving forward with numerous bills and administrative actions that could forever alter the Tar Heel state for the worse.

If North Carolinians only knew more about these anti-environmental measures and their consequences, we think they’d be outraged. We hope you’ll help shed some light on these issues before it’s too late.

Among the most egregious anti-environmental bills still moving through the General Assembly:

*House Bill 201: Would roll back building energy code standards from 2012 levels to 2009 levels, which would make new commercial buildings 30 percent less efficient – needlessly wasting energy and moving the state backward on energy and pollution from power plants.

*Senate Bill 76: Would end the state’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in 2015, allowing oil and gas companies to inject hazardous fracking waste into underground wells, threatening drinking water supplies and putting fragile waterways at risk.

*Senate Bill 515: Would repeal standards designed to reduce pollution from wastewater plants, storm drains and other upstream sources that flow into Jordan Lake – the drinking water source for 300,000 North Carolinians.

*House Bill 1011: Would fire incumbent members of important regulatory boards that are responsible for protecting our beaches, waterways and air and replace them with political appointees.

*House Bill 74: Would allow industry to strangle state government in red tape by forcing the re-adoption of any and every environmental rules that someone complains about.

And that’s just what’s happening in the General Assembly.

Gov. Pat McCrory wants to open the state’s beaches up to the threat of offshore drilling. His appointee to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources has rewritten the department’s mission statement to suggest that environmental science is subject to “a diversity of opinion” and that protection of the state’s environment be subject to cost-benefit analysis. And fossil fuel companies and groups beholden to them – from Halliburton to the American Legislative Exchange Council – are continuing to pressure lawmakers however they can to push their agendas.

In another stunning and unexpected development, The North Carolina Senate recently slashed roughly half of the operating budget from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, passing a 49 percent appropriations cut last week. The Commission oversees programs, research, and management related to wildlife conservation, hunting, fishing, recreational boating, and urban wildlife. These devastating budget cuts will have immediate negative impacts on programs critical to clean water and wildlife habitat.

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