From the NC League of Conservation Voters
Legislative Watch: ‘Legislative Jihad’ Continues
Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland) called it a “legislative jihad” against environmental regulations when the N.C. House voted 76-42 to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of SB 781, the so-called “Regulatory Reform Act of 2011”.
Rep. Paul Leubke (D-Durham) said “this is not regulatory reform, this is regulatory retreat”. Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) said that the bill’s “massive changes” to state law will make it “very difficult to enact rules to protect the public health, safety, welfare, and environment.”
SB 781 buries our state’s pollution control efforts in so much additional red tape that our remaining environmental enforcement staff (deeply cut by the terrible 2012 budget) will be hamstrung in trying to protect North Carolinians’ health. It also takes away from environmental agencies the ability to make final administrative decisions interpreting and applying their own pollution-control rules. This shifts agency decision-making from the scientific experts to administrative law judges who usually have no special background or training on environmental issues.
While the House vote to override the veto of SB 781 was predominantly along party lines, there were critical exceptions. On the bright side, Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson) withstood great pressure from his Republican colleagues to vote for SB 781, and deserves recognition for sticking to his principles and opposing the bill.
On the grim side, the following Democratic representatives abandoned their governor and most of their Democratic colleagues to vote for this egregiously anti-environmental legislation: Marcus Brandon (Guilford), William Brisson (Bladen), Jim Crawford (Granville), Ken Goodman (Montgomery), Dewey Hill (Brunswick), Darren Jackson (Wake), Frank McGuirt (Anson), Bill Owens (Pasquotank), Tim Spear (Chowan), and Michael Wray (Northampton).
Environmentally speaking, the only good news from the veto session was the failure of the House leadership to bring up SB 709 (the so-called “Energy Jobs Act”) for a vote. That failure indicated that they did not have sufficient votes to win an override attempt. Unfortunately, the bill remains alive and could be considered in September or even next year.
If that veto were to be overridden, SB 709 would force the governor to pursue a deal with other coastal states to encourage offshore drilling, and would advance the use of dangerous “fracking” techniques for underground gas exploration.
In other state legislative action last week, the General Assembly approved on near party-line votes the controversial state legislative and Congressional redistricting plans put forward by the Republican leaders. Opponents will now move forward with legal challenges to the maps. Look for the federal courts ultimately to decide whether new district maps (these or some others) will be in place for the 2012 elections.
this information was shared by –
David and Donna Scott
1004 Lakeshore Drive
Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450-2143