A few of the worst last-minute proposals advanced during last night’s kangaroo sessions of the North Carolina House and Senate failed, mercifully, to win final approval prior to the 4:00 a.m. final adjournment. That said, lawmakers still shipped a bevy of dreadful and destructive bills down the street to the Governor’s Mansion.
One of the most troubling was/is the aptly nicknamed “Polluter Protection Act.” Though some of the bill’s rougher edges were smoothed slightly in the session’s final hours, the proposal still goes to Governor McCrory with its horrific centerpiece intact — a provision that would allow permit-holders who violate environmental limits to be excused from civil penalties for their offenses, if they “self-report” the violations.
Environmental advocates are demanding that the Governor veto this monstrosity. The good people at the Environmental Defense Fund put it this way in a statement this morning:
“The N.C. General Assembly has given final approval to House Bill 765, known as the Regulatory Reform Act of 2015. If the legislation becomes law, it will allow more air and water pollution, degrade land, harm wildlife and put public health at risk.
This legislation is a hodgepodge of short-sighted provisions that allow a more polluted environment, plain and simple. It encourages irresponsible business practices. It insulates polluters from their responsibility to fully clean up contamination they cause. It removes protections for nearly 50,000 miles of streams that supply our drinking water, provide important fish habitat, and help keep our waterways clean and healthy.
H765 eliminates sensible safeguards for our air, water, wildlife, and puts the health of our children and families on the hook when polluters should be.”
Meanwhile, Dan Crawford of the League of Conservation Voters was even more succinct when he said the bill could be “the worst environmental bill of Gov. McCrory’s tenure.”
For a summary of the lowlights and the action that environmental advocates are taking to secure a veto click here.
For a thorough list of the bill’s grisly details click here.