More happy news for the environment in North Carolina: According to the one of the state’s most experienced and knowledgeable environmental policy experts, Sierra Club Executive Director Molly Diggins, today is likely to be an especially dark chapter in the ongoing effort to prevent the gradual transormation of Jordan Lake into a 22 square mile toilet as two destructive proposals await final legislative action.
Here is her take on Senate Bill 515 — a bill that awaits final approval in the House this afternoon:
“S 515, Jordan Lake Water Quality Act (House version) would violate the state’s 2007 agreement with EPA to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous coming into the lake, primarily from development. Excess nutrients promote algae growth, which kills aquatic and makes drinking water more expensive to treat.
Instead, the bill would have the state embark on a pilot project to address the symptoms, not the causes of what ails the lake. EPA has already indicated that this approach will not satisfy the state’s obligations under the Clean Water Act.
Who wins? If the House version becomes law, the big winners would appear to be commercial and residential developers who would not have to control runoff from new development into the lake and its tributaries.
Another big winner would appear to be the unnamed vendor who would receive $1.3 million in state funds, exempt from state contracting rules, under a special provision in the budget for equipment related to the pilot project.”
And here is her analysis of Senate Bill 315 — a proposal that has passed both houses and awaits concurrence in the Senate this afternoon:
“S. 315, Municipal Services S 315 is intended to promote and protect the “751 South” project. The new development would add 81 acres of paved surface near the most polluted part of Jordan Lake on the New Hope Creek arm. It would also destroy pollution-filtering wetlands. Like S 515, S 315 would make federally required nutrient reductions in Jordan Lake much more difficult to achieve. SB 315 would also force the City of Durham to annex land for the proposed development despite repeated votes by the City Council not to do so.
Who wins: If S 315 becomes law, the big winner would appear to be 751 developer or Southern Durham Development.”