NC House Draft Budget Contains Destructive Provisions on Climate and Air Pollution
Dangerously pro-polluter special provisions are included in the draft budget unveiled last week by the leadership of the NC House. If adopted, they would hamstring the Cooper Administration’s ability to continue cutting greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution.
One set of environmentally egregious provisions would serve to block North Carolina from participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The RGGI has proven to be an effective tool for many East Coast states to work together efficiently and cost-effectively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially from their electricity-generating sectors.
Another set of pro-polluter provisions would bar North Carolina agencies from adopting and enforcing standards for emissions from new motor vehicles, including any requirements requiring the sale or use of zero-emission (electric) vehicles. This is meant to block the adoption of Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) Rule which has been adopted in California and a number of other states. The NC Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is already in the process of preparing an ACT rule, at the direction of Gov. Roy Cooper.
Even more broadly, a related provision bars the NC Dept. of Transportation (DOT) from dedicating staff to implement Gov. Cooper’s Clean Transportation Plan. Finally, also related to air quality, another budget provision would eliminate motor vehicle emission inspections in every county of the state except for Mecklenburg.
NCLCV is working with other state citizen environmental groups to analyze the details of the House draft budget’s specific funding provisions in pollution control, natural resources, and transportation. (That will include comparisons to Gov. Cooper’s environment-friendly budget proposal.) However, the environmentally damaging special provisions are by themselves enough to get this budget bill off to a bad start.