A group of 14 North Carolina environmental advocacy groups submitted a letter to Governor McCrory yesterday in which they urged him to veto two controversial bills advanced by polluters during the waning hours of the recently adjourned legislative session.

The letter describes the two bills as follows:

“House Bill 74 is a sixty-eight-page compilation of special interest handouts, some of which have already caught your attention. As you noted in your press conference on July 26th, the bill weakens standards that protect citizens, communities and gamelands from the impacts of landfills. Additionally, you pointed out that the bill strips local governments of control over the size and types of billboards that can be erected in a community….

[Senate Bill 515] is the third delay of a much-needed and federally required clean up of Jordan Lake. The rules need a chance to bear results. Once implemented, wastewater plant upgrades and better stormwater management will reduce water pollution in Jordan Lake and the rivers and streams that feed into it. Several local governments have already invested a lot of time and money complying in good faith with the Jordan Lake rules, and Senate Bill 515 punishes them for making those investments. In addition, delaying the rules exposes upstream municipalities and developers to legal challenges for failure to adequately protect a resource that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already found to be impaired.”

Click here to read the entire letter as well as new survey results showing that strong public support of most North Carolinians for strong environmental protection laws.


From the North Carolina Sierra Club:

“Legislature ends session with Jordan Lake bills

Jordan Lake bills signal tough times ahead for troubled lake

RALEIGH – Early this morning, the Senate gave final approval to

SB 515, a measure to further delay the rules intended to clean up Jordan Lake. Jordan Lake is a drinking water supply for more than 300,000 people in the Triangle.  Over the three years of delay, more pollutants will run into the lake making it more expensive and difficult to clean up down the road.

“We have a plan in place to clean up Jordan Lake.” said  Molly Diggins, state director of the NC Sierra Club. “ But now lawmakers in Raleigh have needlessly delayed that plan. Instead, they are diverting more than a million dollars from other clean water projects to pay for a pilot project that will not address pollution flowing into the Lake.” Read More


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. Read More


Jordan lakeYou know something’s amiss in the General Assembly when even the folks who had criticized environmental rules for being too heavy-handed are now taking lawmakers to task for going too far in their response. The subject is Chatham County’s Jordan Lake and the rules that state environmental officials had adopted a few years back in order to save it from the pollution flowing down from Greensboro, Durham and other points north.

Today’s edition of the Greensboro News & Record — the hometown paper of the biggest city impacted by the rules (a city that had complained mightily about them) — editorializes against the state Senate’s plan to eviscerate the rules in a piece entitled “Don’t give up on lake” Read More