Bad News Budget from the Senate

One legislative question has been answered this past week: Can the NC Senate’s budget be as bad as the one passed by the NC House? Sadly, the answer is “yes.”

Especially noteworthy are some of the same terrible “special provisions” which aim to block North Carolina’s pro-environment Gov. Roy Cooper from following through on critical plans to limit climate-altering carbon dioxide emissions and reduce pollution from new trucks and buses. In particular, these special budget provisions would bar North Carolina from participating in the regional climate action pact, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative; prohibit North Carolina from adopting the Advanced Clean Trucks Rule, which is designed to drive a faster transition to electric trucks and buses; and keep the NC Dept. of Transportation from implementing Gov. Cooper’s Clean Transportation Plan. (See further description here.)

Other bad provisions enabling more water pollution discharges are found in the Senate budget bill. One especially outrageous provision would direct the state Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to permit certain wastewater discharges even if they fail to meet all the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act. Legal experts say this provision is not just terrible policy; it’s also likely to be a flagrant violation of federal law. This awful pro-polluter idea was contained in a separate bill approved in the NC House earlier

We’re seeing the kinds of abuses continue that we can expect from pro-polluter legislative leaders who have a super-majority sufficient to override our pro-environment governor’s vetoes. The conservation community has a tall order for next year’s elections to help change this destructive state of political affairs in our state.

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