Raleigh—Drawing praise from Environment North Carolina and other advocates, Gov. Perdue today vetoed two controversial anti-environmental bills approved by the General Assembly in the final hours of their session.
“We thank the Governor for rejecting these measures, which put our coast, our air, and our water, at risk,” said Margaret Hartzell, policy advocate for Environment North Carolina.
The first measure, Senate Bill 709, takes the state a step closer to offshore and onshore oil and gas drilling, while ignoring clean energy alternatives such as offshore wind and solar power.
“Gov. Perdue stood up for the state’s beaches today,” said Elizabeth Ouzts, state director of Environment North Carolina. “Senate Bill 709 puts our treasured coast at risk of a dangerous spill. Instead of creating jobs in wind and solar power, the bill threatens jobs in coastal fishing and tourism.
”Introduced on the anniversary of the BP disaster, Senate Bill 709 requires Gov. Perdue to form a compact with the governors of Virginia and South Carolina to advocate offshore oil and gas drilling and exploration in federal waters. Revenues from coastal tourism and fishing are four times the estimated revenues from offshore oil and gas resources.
Senate Bill 709 also takes a step towards controversial horizontal onshore gas drilling in North Carolina through a study of regulations in other states where the process is legal. Horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has contaminated water supplies, caused explosions, and increased air pollution in the communities across the country where it is prevalent. The practice is currently illegal in North Carolina, but oil and gas companies want to drill near the Deep River in Chatham, Moore, and Lee counties.
The Governor also rejected Senate Bill 781, which handcuffs our state’s ability to protect its own air and water. The bill also initiates the repeal of rules, which could include limits on toxic mercury from smokestacks. An independent analysis of public comments on this bill found that North Carolina citizens overwhelmingly support keeping or strengthening the state’s environmental safeguards, by over four to one.
Environment North Carolina, along with 32 other environmental groups, had asked the Governor to veto both measures.
“Kudos to the Governor for standing up for the state's environment," said Hartzell. "Now we call on the General Assembly to abandon these anti-environmental bills."