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.
Gov. Roy Cooper signed Thursday the $53 billion spending plan, the first biennial state budget since 2017.
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.
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.
For the first time since becoming a state museum, an appropriation of $4.2 million to implement an exhibit plan has been included in both the governor’s and the state Senate’s proposed budgets.
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.
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.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposed spending plan would increase funding for conservation, parks, flood mitigation and other coastal projects.
Economic uncertainty associated with the coronavirus pandemic clouds what would be a rosy budget outlook, as coastal legislators seek funding for state attractions.