“RALEIGH — A quartet of North Carolina Republican senators, including both representing the Wilmington region, asked this week for a federal audit of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s administration of permitting and Public Water Supply programs.

‘Because these are federally mandated programs, it is our belief that the (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) is in the best position to evaluate and advise us on the adequacy of North Carolina’s programs to protect public health and the natural environment,’ said the letter, addressed to Trey Glenn, the EPA’s administrator for the Southeastern U.S. region.

In addition to calling for the audits, the senators’ letter requested EPA guidance on whether the state can set standards for emerging chemicals if there are no such federal standards; whether existing monitoring efforts are sufficient; whether the DEQ needs to tweak its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting process to allow for quicker reviews; and what, if any guidance, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other federal health agencies have released.

Dated Jan. 23, the letter was signed by Sen. Michael Lee, R-New Hanover; Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick; Sen. Andy Wells, R-Hickory; and Sen. Trudy Wade, R-Guilford. All four are members of the Senate Select Committee on N.C. River Water Quality, which Wade chairs.”

Read the full article by Adam Wagner.

Also see: Four GOP senators send puzzling letter to EPA asking for audit of DEQ