Polluters could write environmental rules if N.C. Senate has its way

For immediate release

Raleigh, NC—Developers, polluters, and other special interests would be allowed to write the environmental rules that are supposed to keep them in check, according to a measure that passed the Senate today along party lines.

“This bill lets the foxes guard the hen house, and threatens an unprecedented onslaught of pollution for North Carolina’s air, water, and open spaces,” said Elizabeth Ouzts, State Director for Environment North Carolina.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. Bill Rabon (R- Brunswick) would fire all members of several key environmental and energy commissions, and allow a majority of the new members to represent the very entities the commissions are tasked with regulating.

The Coastal Resources Commission, the Environmental Management Commission, and the Utilities Commission are charged with writing rules to limit the impact that developers, smokestacks, factory farms, and chemical manufacturers have on our environment and open spaces.  They are responsible for enforcing a range of existing laws, from those that require clean energy and cleaner smokestacks, to those aimed at protecting drinking water and coastal wetlands.   

Replacing all commission members with a special-interest majority puts those rules, and the state’s environment, in jeopardy, Ouzts said. 

“Polluted runoff from development and other sources is the state’s largest source of water pollution,” said Ouzts.  “Does the Senate really expect the developers who profit from lax regulations to solve this problem?”

 The bill, SB 10, now moves to the N.C. House of Representatives.