NCPW has confirmed that the NC Department of Environmental Quality has been presented with a “demonstration project that we are continuing to review” with the US Army Corps of Engineers, said Jamie Kritzer, DEQ acting deputy secretary for public affairs.
Funding for the chemical treatment could be included in the Senate’s proposed budget, sources told NCPW. The amount of money could not be confirmed.
It’s unclear why lawmakers would pursue this avenue when last year, they created a think tank, the NC Policy Collaboratory, and gave it $500,000 to fund a two-year study about pollutant sources running into Jordan Lake.
Steve Wall, community outreach liaison for the collaboratory, told NCPW that its Jordan Lake study team met with DEQ earlier this week to update state officials on research. During that discussion, Wall said, DEQ mentioned there could be a legislative proposal to fund chemical treatment of the lake.
The lawmakers and lobbyists behind the chemical scheme are not publicly known. However, one of the state’s most powerful lobbyists, Harold Brubaker, who served 35 years in the House, including two terms as Speaker, represents SePro, a “life sciences” company that sells chemicals to kill aquatic plants in lakes and reservoirs.
SePro’s corporate headquarters are in Carmel, Ind., but it has a research and technology campus in Whitakers, N.C., and a distribution center in Rocky Mount. A review of this year’s registered lobbyists and their clients showed that SePro was the only company that specifically offered this service.Brubaker has represented them since 2016, according to state board of elections records.
Citing confidentiality rules, Brubaker & Associates could not comment on SePro’s plans. However, a representative for the lobbying group said she would pass along a message to SePro seeking comment from NCPW.
DEQ declined to identify the company that presented the demonstration project.