2012

 

While the Common Agenda represents a set of shared priorities, there will always be other critical environmental issues being considered by the General Assembly. Please check back regularly for legislation updates.

Common Agenda Items are noted with
All items listed have the potential to be included as scored votes in the NC League of Conservation Voters Legislative Scorecard

SENATE BILLS

SB 181 – No LUST Cleanup Under Certain Circumstances.         OPPOSE

AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT NO CLEANUP WILL BE REQUIRED FOR ANY DISCHARGE OR RELEASE FROM A PETROLEUM UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK WHEN A PUBLIC WATER SYSTEM IS AVAILABLE TO THOSE AFFECTED BY THE DISCHARGE OR RELEASE AND NO SURFACE WATERS ARE LOCATED WITHIN ONE THOUSAND FEET OF THE DISCHARGE OR RELEASE.

This bill proposes changes to how Leaking Underground Storage Tank sites have to be cleaned up, emphasizing profit over protection of public health just because there’s an alternative water source available in the same contaminated area. Yet another piece of legislation that puts profit ahead of protecting public health by not holding polluters accountable for their actions.

Passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Committee on Environment.

SB 229 Transfer DENR Soil & Water to DACS OPPOSE

AN ACT TO TRANSFER THE DIVISION OF SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION AND THE SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION COMMISSION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES AND TO MAKE CONFORMING CHANGES.

This bill passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Committee on Appropriations.

SB 279 Clarify Renewable Energy Resource Definition OPPOSE

AN ACT TO AMEND THE DEFINITION OF “RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCE” THAT PERTAINS TO THE RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY PORTFOLIO STANDARD (REPS) TO CLARIFY THAT WOOD IS A RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCE AND THAT WOOD NEED NOT BE A WASTE PRODUCT TO QUALIFY AS A RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCE.

Though wood fuel is preferable to coal, this bill allows for wood to be harvested for the specific purpose of energy production, instead of only allowing wood byproducts to be used. This stands in contrast to the effort to move towards cleaner fuels.

This bill passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Environment Committee.

SB 308 State Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions OPPOSE

AN ACT TO PROHIBIT STATE AGENCIES FROM ADOPTING, IMPLEMENTING, OR ENFORCING A RULE THAT REGULATES GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS OR LIMITS HUMAN ACTIVITY FOR THE PURPOSE OF REDUCING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS IF THE RULE IS NOT REQUIRED BY A FEDERAL LAW OR REGULATION OR IS MORE STRINGENT THAN A CORRESPONDING FEDERAL REGULATION OR LAW.

This bill passed the Senate and has been sitting in the House Environment Committee since March.

 

SB 462 – Distribution of Excise Tax on Title Instruments OPPOSE

AN ACT TO BOLSTER AFFORDABLE HOUSING THROUGH EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF THE EXCISE TAX.

This bill seeks to redistribute the excise tax, formerly 75% of the tax would go to the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, and 25% would go to the Natural Heritage Trust Fund,  to a formula where 50% would go to the North Carolina Housing Trust Fund, 37% to the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, and 13% to the Natural Heritage Trust Fund. Essentially halving the funding the Parks and Recreation Trust fund and the Natural Heritage Trust Funds receive.

SB 491 – Sedimentation Pollution Control Act Exemption OPPOSE

AN ACT TO SPECIFY THAT THE AGRICULTURAL USE EXEMPTION FROM SEDIMENTATION POLLUTION CONTROL ACT PERMITTING REQUIREMENTS CONTINUES TO APPLY WHEN THE LAND IS TRANSFERRED INTO A WETLANDS RESTORATION PROGRAM OR OTHER WATER QUALITY, WATER RESOURCES, OR WILDLIFE HABITAT ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM.

Referred to the House commerce department on 6.07.2011.

SB 492 – Protect Landowner Water Rights OPPOSE

AN ACT TO ENHANCE THE PROTECTION OF LANDOWNERS’ WATER RIGHTS AND TO EXEMPT AGRICULTURAL PONDS FROM THE DAM SAFETY ACT.

Referred to the House Environment Committee on 6.16.2011.

SB 561 – Sedimentation Civil Penalty Cap & Remissions OPPOSE

AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A MAXIMUM CUMULATIVE TOTAL CIVIL PENALTY PER LAND-DISTURBING PROJECT FOR A FIRST-TIME VIOLATION UNDER THE SEDIMENTATION POLLUTION CONTROL ACT OF 1973, TO AUTHORIZE THE REMISSION OF CIVIL PENALTIES UNDER THIS ACT, TO REQUIRE THAT A PERSON ASSESSED A CIVIL PENALTY IS NOTIFIED OF THE OPTION TO REQUEST A REMISSION OF THE CIVIL PENALTY AND, FOR FIRST-TIME VIOLATORS, NOTIFIED THAT FIRST-TIME VIOLATORS CANNOT BE ASSESSED MORE THAN A MAXIMUM CIVIL PENALTY WHEN ANY CONTINUING ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE IS ABATED WITHIN ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS, AND TO REQUIRE THAT FIRST-TIME VIOLATORS BE OFFERED ASSISTANCE IN DEVELOPING CORRECTIVE MEASURES.

This bill will set a maximum limit of $25,000 on civil penalty assessments under the Sedimentation Control Act. It will also require DLR staff to deliver NOVs in person, which will slow down the process, in essence preventing many such cases from being addressed.

Passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Environment Committee.

*SB 628 – Water Quality Permitting Compliance Review and Submissions SUPPORT

AN ACT TO PROVIDE (1) THAT THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION SHALL DENY A WATER QUALITY PERMIT OR CERTIFICATION WHEN THE APPLICANT KNOWINGLY FALSIFIES INFORMATION OR FAILS TO DISCLOSE RELEVANT INFORMATION IN THE APPLICATION OR SUPPORTING INFORMATION AND (2) THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES SHALL CONDUCT AN ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE REVIEW OF AN APPLICANT FOR A WATER QUALITY PERMIT OR CERTIFICATION PRIOR TO ISSUANCE OF A PERMIT OR CERTIFICATION.

This bill encourages honesty in water permitting procedures and prevents expeditious approval of permits when falsified information is submitted . This bill passed the Senate and is moving through the House.

*SB 635 – Littering Offenses/ Increase Fines SUPPORT

AN ACT TO INCREASE THE FINES FOR LITTERING OFFENSES.

An act to increase the fines for littering. Passed the Senate and has been referred to the House.

SB709 Energy Jobs Act       OPPOSE

An Act to Increase Energy Production in North Carolina to Develop a Secure, Stable, and Predictable Energy Supply to Facilitate Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Expansion of Business and Industry Opportunities and to Assign Future Revenue from Energy Exploration, Development, and Production of Energy Resources in Order to Protect and Preserve the State’s Natural Resources, Cultural Heritage, and Quality of Life.

The Governor vetoed this bill but an override is being considered by the General Assembly.

SB810 Regulatory Reform Act of 2012           OPPOSE

An Act to (1) Reestablish the Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee; (2) Make Various Technical and Clarifying Changes to the Administrative Procedures Act; (3) Extend the Effective Date for Changes to Final Decision-Making Authority in Certain Contested Cases; (4) Limit the Period During Which Records of Unclaimed Property Must be Maintained; (5A) Direct Agencies to Submit a Report on Notice Given Before Auditing or Examining a Business to the Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee; (5B) Require the Department of Labor to Provide Notice Prior to Inspections; (6) Clarify that the Discharge of Waste into Waters of the State Does not Include the Release of Air Contaminants into the Outdoor Atmosphere; (7) Authorize Rather Than Require the Commission for Public Health to Adopt Rules for the Testing of Water from New Drinking Water Wells for Certain Volatile Organic Compounds; (8) Direct the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to Track and Report on Permit Processing Times; (9) Delay the Effective Date for Compliance with Wading Pool Fencing Requirements from July 1, 2012, to January 1, 2013; (10) Direct the Commission for Public Health to Amend the Rules Governing the Duration of Permits for Sanitary Landfills and the Period in Which Those Permits are Reviewed; (11) Exempt from Sanitation Regulations of Food and Lodging Facilities Seasonal Markets at Which the Operator of the Market Sells Products Produced Only by the Operator; and (12) Amend the Criteria for Designation as a Port Enhancement Zone.

SB820 – Clean Energy and Economic Security Act        OPPOSE

 

An Act to (1) Reconstitute the Mining Commission as the Mining and Energy Commission, (2) Require the Mining and Energy Commission and Other Regulatory Agencies to Develop a Modern Regulatory Program for the Management of Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Activities in the State, Including the Use of Horizontal Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing for that Purpose, (3) Authorize Horizontal Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing, but Prohibit the Issuance of Permits for These Activities Pending Subsequent Legislative Action, (4) Enhance Landowner and Public Protections Related to Horizontal Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing, and (5) Establish the Joint Legislative Commission on Energy Policy.

This bill would legalize hydraulic-fracturing in the state of North Carolina, set up a Mining and Energy Commission controlled by members of the drilling industry to regulate drilling in the state, and does not include many of the environmental and health safeguards recommended by experts at DENR and other independent scientists.

UPDATE: Governor Bev. Perdue has vetoed the fracking bill. Click here for the press release. For a joint letter from the environmental community to the legislature in support of the governor’s executive order on fracking, click here.

 

HOUSE BILLS

HB 586-Enhance Water Supply Funding SUPPORT

AN ACT TO AMEND THE CLEAN WATER MANAGEMENT TRUST FUND TO PROVIDE THAT THE FUND MAY BE USED TO PRESERVE LANDS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF WATER SUPPLY RESERVOIRS.

This bill expands the use of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. This bill passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture/Environment/and Natural Resources.

HB 623 Eliminate Agency Final Decision Authority (SB 653) OPPOSE

AN ACT TO MODIFY THE PROCEDURES CONCERNING FINAL ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS IN CONTESTED CASES HEARD BY THE OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS.

This bill makes more changes to the APA dealing with contested cases tried by administrative law judges. In essence it aims to amend statutes to remove final agency decision.

Passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 787 NC Water Efficiency Act SUPPORT

AN ACT TO IMPROVE THE EFFICIENCY OF USE OF NORTH CAROLINA’S WATER RESOURCES.

Makes many changes to law for water efficiency. Mandates that local water supply plans include a water efficiency plan. The local water efficiency plan would include policies and practices that by the year 2016 will result in residential water use at a level that does not exceed 100 gallons for each person each day, by 2025 will result in residential water use at a level that does not exceed 75 gallons for each person each day, and by 2035 will result in residential water use at a  level that does not exceed 45 gallons for each person each day. This is the type of common sense approach needed to reduce water inefficiencies. Passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture/Environment/and Natural Resources.

HB819 COASTAL MANAGEMENT POLICIES            OPPOSE

An Act to Study and Modify Certain Coastal Management Policies

This bill removes scientific projections based upon climate science from coastal planning for sea-level rise and got our state made fun of on national television. It has passed in the Senate and is waiting in the house.

HB975 Promote Local/Healthy Food        SUPPORT

An Act to Work Toward Decreasing Obesity Among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Participants by Increasing Their Participation in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-ED) and Making Fresh, Locally Grown Produce Available by Increasing the Acceptance of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Cards at Farmers Markets, as Recommended by the House Select Committee on Childhood Obesity.

HB983 ICLEI NONCOMPLIANCE                  OPPOSE

A Joint Resolution Authorizing the 2011 General Assembly to Consider a Bill to be Entitled an Act to Provide that North Carolina Shall not Comply with Iclei/Agenda 21, Relative to the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the Statement of Principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests.

This act is based upon the John Birch Society conspiracy theory that the United Nations is trying to create a one-world government by encouraging for sustainability. Agenda 21, a completely non-binding, voluntary international agreement with suggestions about how to encourage sustainability at the local, national, and international level, was signed by President George Bush in 1992. Conspiracy theorists have taken Agenda 21 as a United Nations mandate to local governments that allows for the UN to seize local property, and that the voluntary sustainability suggestions are in fact enforceable by the federal government. This bill encourages paranoid thinking, makes our state look bad for businesses looking for rational leaders to set policies, and uses a conspiracy theory to stir up anti-conservation sentiment.

HB1094 CONTINUE LOCAL FOOD ADVISORY COUNCIL     OPPOSE

An Act to Rename the North Carolina Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council as the North Carolina Local Food Advisory Council and to Extend the Sunset on the Law Establishing the Council, as Recommended by the House Select Committee on Agricultural Regulations.

HB1095 SMALL FARM PROFITABILITY/EGG SALES              OPPOSE

An Act to Increase Small Farm Profitability by Increasing the Exemption for Sales of Ungraded Eggs, as Recommended by the House Select Committee on Agricultural Regulations

This bill makes it harder for small, sustainable farms to sell their eggs at farmers markets.

HB1139 Promote Renewable Jobs            SUPPORT

An Act to Provide Incentives for the Development and Manufacture of Components for Plug-In Electric Vehicles.

This bill provides support for manufacturing parts for plug-in electric hybrids.

HB1184 Clarify Underground Injection Ban           SUPPORT

An Act to Clarify that the Ban on Discharge of Wastes to the Subsurface or Groundwaters of the State by Means of Wells Applies to the Injection of Fluids Using a Well for the Purpose of Oil and Gas Exploration or Production.

This bill clarifies the law regarding the ban on re-injecting produced waters from drilling operations that have the potential to pollute water supplies.

HB1185 Fracking Contracts/Against Public Policy                                SUPPORT

An Act to Provide that Contracts to Lease or Convey the Fee Simple Title to Oil, Gas, or Mineral Rights Separate from the Surface Fee Simple Ownership are Against Public Policy, Void, and Unenforceable.

HB 1187 NC Toxic Free Kids Act                  SUPPORT

An Act to Protect Children from the Health Impacts of Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products by Prohibiting the Manufacture and Sale of Children’s Products Containing Bisphenol A, Tris, or Phthalates; and by Requiring the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in Consultation with the Division of Public Health of the Department of Health and Human Services, to Identify and Designate Chemicals of High Concern and Priority Chemicals; and by Requiring Notice and an Alternatives Assessment by Manufacturers of Children’s Products Containing Certain Priority Chemicals.

HB1194 Environmental Justice/Repurposing Existing Landfill        SUPPORT

An Act to Ensure that a Permittee or Transferee of an Existing Solid Waste Management Facility (1) Cannot Circumvent the Closure Requirements for the Facility and (2) Cannot Circumvent Any Component of the Permit Process for a New Permit or a Substantial Amendment to a Permit When Substantial Energy-Producing Activities are Added to the Activities Conducted at the Facility and the Facility is Located in a Minority or Low-Income Community Protected by Title Vi of the Federal Civil Rights Act.

 Posted by at 4:06 pm