This critical piece of legislation has been going through an expanded stakeholder process, with input from environmental advocates, city and county government representatives, private citizens and industry, and others. The bill has passed out of Senate, and is moving towards the House floor for a vote. While the legislation is not as strong as strong as environmental advocates originally hoped, it does expand stormwater protections across additional coastal counties. Environmental advocates are working to protect the bill from weakening amendments.
After more than 20 years of failure, it’s time to fix the Coastal Stormwater Program. Ineffective state rules have caused permanent closures of shellfish waters to rise by 13 percent during the past two decades. This has had lasting impacts on our state’s coastal economy.
Polluted stormwater carries bacteria and assorted chemicals to our rivers and sounds, and is the primary cause of 90 percent of all contaminated shellfish beds. More than 100,000 acres of shellfishing waters are permanently closed or, after moderate rains, are forced to temporarily close. Once our coastal waters are impaired, it’s difficult and expensive to restore.
In 2005, the state’s Division of Water Quality determined that the rules, put in place in 1985, to control stormwater in 20 coastal counties have failed to protect our water. In response, the Environmental Management Commission has approved new rules that were the subject of four public hearings last year. These rules will insure that new development in the coastal region will not pollute our shellfish and swimming waters.
Allow Coastal Stormwater Program rules
to go into effect on August 1, 2008.
Please oppose HB 2138/SB 1967.
For more information: Jim Stephenson, NC Coastal Federation,
firstname.lastname@example.org, (252) 393-8185