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To fight or not to fight?

As noted in this space and others in recent days, Governor Perdue has decided to go out with a whimper when it comes to a group of anti-environment bills that were among the last few measures passed and sent to her by the General Assembly last month. Rather than standing up and vetoing measures she knew and understood to be counter-productive, she opted for the path of least resistance — either holding her nose and signing, or simply allowing a proposal to become law without taking any action.

The Sierra Club and other environmental advocates think she screwed up (see below).

Some observers have speculated that her actions were motivated by a fear of what conservatives might do if they were called back to Raleigh for a veto session (though General Assembly lawyer Gerry Cohen’s recent statements that such shenanigans would be illegal calls this into question). Others think it was simply politics (i.e. a fear of creating a potential distraction for Walter Dalton).

Whatever the reason, it’s a frustrating and disappointing conclusion to the summer legislative season.

Happily, at least one group of people has not given up just yet. The Asheville City Council is apparently advancing a plan to hold a local referendum on State Rep. Tim Moffitt’s ongoing effort to steal the city’s water system — an effort that was advanced somewhat by Perdue’s failure to act on this bill. Good for them.

And good for the Sierra Club for saying this:

For Immediate Release
August 1, 2012
Contact: Molly Diggins, molly.diggins@sierraclub.org, 919-624-7096

Statement for the NC Sierra Club on the Governor’s Decision Not to Veto Three Anti-Environmental Bills

RALEIGH – Three bills with significant environmental impacts that have been awaiting the Governor’s action will go into law, two of them with her signature.   

House Bill 819, the high profile Sea Level Rise bill, prohibits the Coastal Resources Commission from using the best available science while planning for development and conservation.  That bill will not be vetoed, but will go into law without the Governor’s signature.

While allowing the Sea Level Rise bill to become law without her signature, Governor Perdue signed two other pernicious bills into law.  Senate Bill 229 is a bill full of loopholes and benefits to polluters, including exempting certain facilities from water quality permits and weakening critical buffer rules along the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River basins.  House Bill 953 puts a two year delay on important pollution controls for new development in the Jordan Lake watershed, among other environmental rollbacks.

Upon the news of the Governor’s refusal to block these anti-environmental bills, Molly Diggins, state director of the NC Chapter of the Sierra Club offered the following statement:

“We are disappointed that the Governor chose not to veto these bills.  All three measures primarily benefit developers at the expense of North Carolina’s taxpayers, who will end up paying more in the long run to deal with the increased costs of failing to address sea level rise as well as water pollution caused by poorly planned development.”

 

 

 

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