Dirty Water

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Clean Water Act

An attempt to make following federal Clean Water Act protections optional in North Carolina—at the discretion of the state legislature—narrowly passed an NC House committee last week, despite the committee’s being told that it violates the United States Constitution. Another provision of that bill (HB 579) would benefit the short-term profits of builders and developers willing to cut corners on erosion and sedimentation control, at the cost of dirty water and smothered streams in our communities. 

The bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Mark Brody (R-Union) is the same State Representative who is a professional building contractor and major beneficiary of big-dollar donations from the building industry, and who was already in the news this year for running a bill pushed by the building lobby that would freeze progress on home energy efficiency standards. That bill (HB 488) would benefit the short-term profits of the building industry at the cost of long-term higher home heating and cooling bills for homeowners. 

Notice a pattern here? Members of the current legislative supermajority in the NC General Assembly are on a streak of pro-polluter, anti-community environmental legislation for the benefit of well-funded industry lobbies. It’s the kind of abuse we see metastasize when unchecked political gerrymandering moves any group of legislators beyond the reach of replacement by ordinary majorities of the voting public. (See “A Dark Day for Democracy in North Carolina.”)

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