This legislative session has seen more dirty businesses wheeling and dealing than any in recent history. Economic vitality is a concern we all have, but creating loopholes for those who can’t keep up with policies that protect our health is not the way to ensure it. Promoting a few business interests while forsaking clean businesses and your health. Now That Ain’t Right!
Here are just a few of the bills that polluters have requested…
That Ain’t Right!
State Legislators Rush to Drill, Ignoring Citizens, Science, and Risks
On June 5th a diverse array of North Carolina’s citizens, including a scientist, a landowner, and a county commissioner, voiced their concerns about Senate Bill 820 that would lift the ban on fracking, limit local authority, and impose health and environmental risks on all North Carolinians for years to come. In their rush to drill legislators are willing to bypass science and ignore citizens’ fears to pass the dangerous SB 820 by the end of this week. That ain’t right.
For more on the hearing, the bill, and fracking in North Carolina, click here.
With the North Carolina unemployment rate stuck at around 10%, we elected the current legislators to create jobs. Unfortunately, they’ve been sidetracked by issues that have very little to do with jobs and, in some cases, actually kill them. In their zest to roll back protections for air and water and to derail clean energy initiatives, they have ignored their mandate and put our economy in peril. With misguided priorities, and late night voting shenanigans there is no wonder that their approval rating is only 16%. For the sake of all North Carolinian’s, That ain’t right.
Wednesday January 4th lawmakers will return to Raleigh to discuss several gubernatorial veto overrides including SB 709, the Energy Jobs Act. The bill reverses the state’s long-time reluctance to allow oil and gas exploration and drilling, requires the Governor to join a pact with other states to ” “to develop and implement a strategy to increase exploration and production of offshore oil and gas”, calls for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to conduct a fracking study and reconfigures the Energy Policy Council to be more fossil-fuel friendly
Last month North Carolina lost over 10,000 jobs in large part to the new State Budget, pushing the jobless rate up to 9.9%. This is almost a full percentage point higher than the National average. Many estimate that this loss is just the first wave of unemployment to caused by the most recent budget.
The attack on many of the things that make North Carolina a great place to live and do business began on January 27 when the 2011 Long Session was gaveled in under new leadership and lasted up till the very end.
Despite political rhetoric there is little linking a dirty environment to a strong economy.
DISTURBING THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF OUR BEACHES: s110
S110, as passed through the House and the Senate, would lift the ban on building expensive hardened structures, like terminal groins and jetties, on our coastline. Both Democrats and Republicans alike support the ban on these structures. However, threats from a few misinformed politicians have allowed for more of these structures, which increase erosion and beach maintenance costs.
FUZZY MATH HIDES PUBLIC DEMAND FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS
Last month, Majority legislative staff provided their analysis of written comments to the Joint Regulatory Reform Committee established by Senate Joint Resolution 17. See the analysis here, and then check the math and judge for yourself.
The numbers show that North Carolinians who submitted comments oppose regulatory reform by two to one – 740 oppose, and 344 support. But the Majority dismisses 573 North Carolina citizens who oppose regulatory reform, and what do you know – now their analysis shows people supporting regulatory reform by two to one. This is the math they brought to the budget debate?
If you add in people who came out and testified at six hearings held by the Joint Committee over the past few months, the picture doesn’t change. Based on a review of video recordings of the six hearings, 162 people voiced support for environmental regulations and 129 expressed an objection to regulations or complained about inconsistent application of regulations.
REGULATORY REFORM BILL OF 2011: S781
The legislation recently passed in Senate Bill 781 certainly reforms current regulations — by undoing decades of hard work by North Carolinians to protect the wonderful natural resources that make our state beautiful and safe. This bill generates mountains of red tape and hoops to jump through, just for state agencies to do their jobs to protect the health and beauty of North Carolina’s natural areas. A flowchart that depicts new rule making procedures makes it obvious that “transparency” and “accountability” were simply empty campaign promises by this session’s senators and representatives.
ELIMINATION OF NORTH CAROLINA’S AIR TOXICS PROGRAM: AMENDMENTS TO S308
On June 14, Representative Pat McElraft added an amendment to a bill that was already in motion to eliminate North Carolina’s Air Toxics Regulations. Some of the largest polluters in the state specifically requested the amendment. Furthermore, the committee that reviewed the amendment did not take public comment on the legislation, and failed to provide the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment with the changes for study or comment.
AMEND ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS: H119
The original version of this bill simply revised a few environmental rules. However, since its initial introduction to the House of Representatives, it has been loaded with provisions for special interests and industry polluters. We elected our legislators to protect the needs of the citizens of North Carolina, not special interests. The changes made in this bill are not in our best interests.
SHIFT GROUNDWATER POLLUTION LIABILITY OFF THE POLLUTER: S181, S48,
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.