Take action in North Carolina
Earth Day Network Intern - Preston Kussmann
In the past week, North Carolina's Republican-led General Assembly presented three bills to Democratic Governor Bev Perdue which seek to drastically rollback environmental regulations in the state. If these bills and budget cuts currently working their way through the legislature, are signed into law, it would represent a drastic rollback of environmental regulations in the Tar Heel State.
Senate Bill 110 allows for the construction of objects, such as jetties or groins, to prevent beach front homes from collapsing into the Atlantic. Such construction was unanimously banned by the state legislature in 2003. While admirable, experts suggest that these efforts may simply shift erosion patterns, risking more damage over a greater area to beaches and property. Next, Senate Bill 709 allows for hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and instructs the Governor to develop a plan, coordinated with South Carolina and Virginia, to begin offshore drilling. Hydraulic fracturing is detrimental to air and groundwater quality, whereas offshore drilling carries its own risks: the potential damage to the environment, tourism, and fishing in the mid-Atlantic could be catastrophic in the event of an accident like what recently happened in the Gulf of Mexico. And finally, Senate Bill 781 weakens the state's ability to create and enforce their own environmental regulations, shifting the burden onto the federal government.
Efforts in North Carolina to repeal environmental safeguards do not stop at those three bills. An amendment to Senate Bill 308, still making its way through the legislature, eliminates regulations on industrial air pollutants, some of which are known carcinogens or can cause birth defects. These repeals were requested by five of the largest polluters in the state, which, according to the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory, pumped 18,208,283 pounds of hazardous and toxic pollutants into the atmosphere in 2009. Of that, over 500,000 pounds were carcinogens. Meanwhile, two North Carolinian agencies have been the victim of budget cuts—The Clean Water Management Trust Fund has seen its funding cut by 90 percent, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has seen 160 jobs cut under the paradoxical guise of promoting business and economic growth.
Luckily, most of these changes are not yet law, and must first be signed by Governor Perdue. Her veto powers are the only step remaining to prevent North Carolina's environmental protections from eroding. Help show your support for these needed environmental regulations by urging the Governor to veto these reactionary pieces of legislation by calling, writing, or faxing, her office.
Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301