It may be the last day of the NC legislative short session and, as is tradition, a lengthy “regulatory reform” bill was passed by the Senate – S 734. The bill has a few good provisions but many bad provisions that are giveaways to regulated industry and bad news for the environment. Please contact your House representative and ask them to vote to “not concur” on this bill (S 734) because of the negative environmental impacts.
Contact info for House members is here:
To determine who represents you go here:
Renting out state parks to private interests: Speed limit waiver in state parks and forests. Allows any person to petition DENR to waive the standard 25 mph speed limit in a state park or forest for a special event. This is the only obstacle to the Division of State Parks, for the first time, issuing a permit for exclusive use of the main attraction of a state park for private purposes (and specifically, for car races to the summit). This measure was sought by political backers of Gov McCrory.
Weaken protection for wetlands: Nearly eliminates protection for isolated wetlands in Eastern NC by raising the acreage threshold for when a permit must be sought to an acreage higher than the size of most isolated wetlands in eastern NC (1 acre). The threshold for eastern NC is currently 1/3 acre. Also reduces mitigation required for impacts to isolated wetlands statewide. Overall this provision is a negative for water quality – isolated wetlands are important for flood control, groundwater recharge and habitat.
There are several provisions that would negatively impact water quality at the coast, one that would make challenges to CAMA permits less effective by eliminating a stay on development when a legitimate claim is filed and another that would create a new exemption from coastal stormwater rules, essentially creating a windfall for certain properties but having a negative overall effect on water quality.
Cassie Gavin, Director of Government Relations
Sierra Club – NC Chapter