“Governor Cooper on HB 972 and SB 724, legislative Republicans’ insufficient proposal to address emerging contaminants – GenX – in North Carolina’s air and water:
‘This legislation makes it harder to keep our air and water clean and it sends funding to the wrong place, providing little more than political cover to legislators who have failed to act. People are tired of politics polluting their water, and state agencies responsible for holding polluters accountable need resources to stop pollution and keep people safe.’
Southern Environmental Law Center:
‘The legislature’s supposed response to the GenX crises continues to play politics instead of taking immediate action to address the problem.
Rather than clarify or enhance state enforcement authority, this bill imposes multiple requirements on the Governor before he can order a facility that is potentially poisoning people to cease all polluting operations and activities—creating unnecessary hurdles to effective action. This is pointless given the Governor’s existing authority, and appears intended to protect the polluter, Chemours.
Rather than fund the agency that can address the ongoing threat from Chemours’ unlawful pollution, the bill funds additional ongoing studies. The bill would give $8 million to the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory at UNC established by the legislature and run by the former policy advisor to the President of the Senate, Senator Berger. Meanwhile, it provides a meager $1 million in new funding to the Department of Environmental Quality, the agency with statutory authority to force Chemours to protect our air, water, and groundwater. The bill does little to reverse the General Assembly’s consistent efforts to cripple the agency. Additional funding to abate the pollution should be directed to the Department of Environmental Quality, which has the authority to address the problem, and a demonstrated need for additional staff, equipment and funding.’
‘The proposal has significant problems and is not a sufficient response to GenX and emerging contaminants. Firstly, the bill creates confusion by suggesting that it gives the governor authority that his office does not already have to shut down Chemours (the company releasing GenX into the Cape Fear River). Rather than giving the governor new authority, the bill creates new roadblocks to enforcement of existing air and water laws…The proposal also continues the Senate’s trend toward using the UNC Collaboratory as a legislative research shop, after seven years of starving DEQ of resources.’
Read the full article by Yes! Weekly