The state budget recently signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper, his first since taking office, provides significant funding for resilience and conservation, but the 1,200-page spending plan also includes provisions that could undermine environmental protections.
After years of climate disasters across North Carolina, the newly approved state budget includes hundreds of millions of dollars for new programs and initiatives to address flooding and bolster resilience to storms.
The measure would require Duke Energy and other major electricity producers to cut carbon dioxide emissions 70% by 2030, with a goal of zero carbon by 2050.
With House and Senate agreement on a state spending plan, it looks like another drawn-out budget battle with the governor may be avoided.
Amid broad bipartisan agreement on resiliency, flood mitigation and land conservation policy and funding in Raleigh, there are certain terms that still raise suspicion among some in the legislature.
Both chambers plan to spend $25.7 billion this year and $26.7 billion next year, but a House and Senate conference committee are set to begin working through differences large and small.
The House budget unveiled Thursday includes almost $2 billion for flood prevention, resiliency and stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, but a provision affecting wetlands protection may conflict with those goals.
North Carolina’s Land and Water Fund for conservation and restoration projects is on track for an appropriation at a level not seen in more than a decade.
The state Senate’s two-year spending plan approved last week includes funding for fisheries research, expanding the shellfish lease program and a new loan program for growers, along with a new dedicated fund for Ferry Division capital expenses.
Provisions aimed at stepping up state monitoring of contaminants known as per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances were wrapped into the Senate budget plan released this week.
House and Senate negotiators last week settled on increased budget ceilings for the next two years, but exact numbers by department have yet to be spelled out.
The House and Senate continue to address flood prevention and resilience in this year’s session of North Carolina General Assembly.
This year’s farm bill includes a provision creating a general permit for animal operations to build and operate farm digester systems for capturing methane for energy.
Economic uncertainty associated with the coronavirus pandemic clouds what would be a rosy budget outlook, as coastal legislators seek funding for state attractions.
Legislation filed last week in the North Carolina General Assembly is aimed at getting federal help to extend jetties at Oregon Inlet and build a proposed terminal groin at North Topsail Beach.
With Gov. Roy Cooper now in his second term and the legislature convening Wednesday, budget and pandemic response agreements remain on the to-do list from last year.