Dear Conservation Voter,
This is the first time in NCLCV history in which our Legislative Scorecard features the Story of the Biennium: an overview of the 2017 long session hand in hand with the 2018 short session. In doing so, we have created a comprehensive evaluation of the 2017-18 General Assembly’s legislative activity regarding environmental issues.
The 2017-18 General Assembly was confronted with a wide variety of critical environmental challenges, but it created more problems than it solved.
First and foremost, the General Assembly still has yet to adequately address GenX and other emerging contaminants. We have watched our elected officials sit idly by for over a year now, as chemically contaminated water continues to keep thousands of North Carolinians from drinking the water that comes out of their tap. In the face of a public health emergency, legislators did not seize the opportunity to come together as fellow North Carolinians. Instead, they desperately clung to their ideologies—their differences—and failed to provide one of our citizens’ most basic needs—clean water—when people needed it most.
Although the GenX crisis took center stage over the biennium, we hope this holistic approach to the Legislative Scorecard can shed light on the unacceptable anti-environmental legislation that flew under the radar, including the appeasement of multinational corporate hog polluters in our rural communities, the sabotage of wind energy investments, and the continued environmental protection rollbacks. Indeed, the legislative biennium as a whole was a full-frontal assault on our environment.
Despite the actions (and inactions) of the 2017-18 General Assembly, NCLCV remains hopeful about the future of conservation in North Carolina. With a record number of candidates in the 2018 general election, and your support at the polls, we are confident that the number of pro-environmental legislators in the General Assembly will only continue to grow. This November also brings the retirement of a number of anti-environmental legislators, granting us a unique opportunity to fill the General Assembly’s roster with a new crop of environmental champions who will form a Green Caucus dedicated to putting people before polluters.
Beyond the voting booth, we must be active in our communities to ensure that environmental protections are legislators’ top priorities. Use your voice as an instrument for change; if you disapprove of your legislators’ environmental records, let them know. As we approach the upcoming election cycle, ask your candidates where they stand on environmental issues. Together, through broader civic engagement, we can help build a healthier North Carolina by electing public servants who will fight for clean water, clean air, and clean energy.
North Carolina League of Conservation Voters