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DENR Secretary claims enviro rules not being relaxed

John SkvarlaAt a Monday’s Locke Foundation “Shaftsbury Society” lunch, North Carolina’s Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources John Skvarla made a rather remarkable claim that you can watch in the two-minute highlight video posted here.

Skvarla claimed that his department (and, by implication, the McCrory administration) is not changing or relaxing environmental rules and regulations, but just working harder to help businesses negotiate the bureaucracy. If that’s so, it must mean that the Secretary will be working hard to secure a veto of some controversial bills currently pending on Gov. McCrory’s desk that would do just that.

For example, House Bill 74 would, according to the N. C. Conservation Network:

  • remove or weaken many of the safeguards put in place surrounding landfills in 2007;
  • remove environmental justice protections for communities where new landfills may be placed;
  • eliminate the requirement for regular maintenance of toxic liquid collection lines;
  • eliminate protective boundaries for sensitive wetlands and streams;
  • replace a state law that requires garbage trucks to be “leak-proof” (meaning NO leaks) with a vague and undefined standard that they only have to be “leak-resistant”; and
  • allow coal fired power plants and other industrial facilities to contaminate our groundwater and doesn’t enforce them to do anything until the contamination has reached a neighbor’s property line.

And then there’s Senate Bill 515 which clearly relaxes the rules regulating water pollution at Jordan Lake.

In addition to the highlights, you can also watch Skvarla’s entire speech, including his rather offensive comments about environmental advocates, at the Locke website.

[UPDATE: According to an attendee, late in the talk, Skvarla responded to a question about whether the Guv would sign HB 74 with a one word answer: “yes.”]
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