Perhaps one of the most outrageous bills voted on this session is one sponsored by Senator Don East. S181 would essentially result in taxpayer bailouts for leaking underground storage tank owners. This could cost us up to $1 million annually, without requiring those responsible for the pollution to make any responsible decisions regarding the upgrading or replacement of these structures. (Senator East owns a leaking underground storage tank). Read more here.
House bill 119 has many detrimental provisions that reduce protection for our water. The many other provisions and exemptions in this piece of legislation include a 6-year delay for adopting a strategy to improve the water quality in Jordan Lake, in order to allow polluters to continue discharging into the public drinking water supply. This is unfair to the many downstream users of the waterway.
In addition, development exceptions are included regarding rules protecting fisheries in the Neuse and Pamlico estuaries. Mitigating the pollution on these new developments will not only increase public and private costs, but will damage the economic benefits that these fisheries and waterways provide. These and other damaging sections in House Bill 119 may result in less federal funding for water quality protection.
These bills and provisions don’t create jobs; they allow business and individuals to pollute our waterways. Without clean water, we threaten our health and the health of our tourism industry, which provides 378,000 jobs to North Carolinians.