When first considered 50 years ago, North Carolina’s Coastal Area Management Act was hotly controversial environmental legislation, and despite challenges past and present, it remains the state’s only attempt to forge a partnership for regional resource management.
North Carolina General Assembly
Environmental advocates are calling the governor’s latest executive order to conserve and restore forests and wetlands and plant 1 million trees in urban areas “ambitious and important.”
Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Elizabeth Biser was called before a hurricane response committee this week to explain the agency’s progress and use of state funding on a flood resilience tool for decision-makers and the public.
A decades-long battle to restore navigable access on the Currituck Sound off Corolla appears to have taken a more upbeat tone at a recent meeting between representatives from Currituck County and Army Corps of Engineers staff.
The Coastal Resources Commission on Wednesday adopted 16 emergency rules to temporarily replace the most critical of the 30 that were stripped from the books after the Rules Review Commission objected to them in October.
With $6.6 million in state funds, restoration recently began on rapidly eroding Sugarloaf Island, a storm barrier that has long protected the Morehead City waterfront.
The recently approved budget includes new raises for North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality staff as well as fee increases for agency permits.
The housing measure, for which no one has yet acknowledged responsibility, restricts the towns’ ability to regulate affordable housing projects funded by $35 million in state money awarded to the county for that purpose.
Environmental groups and Dare County officials object to provisions in the $30 billion spending plan that take away towns’ and counties’ rule-making authority, including for regulating plastics use and affordable housing.
Water quality advocates worry that the reduced civil penalty in this year’s Farm Act for removing trees in riparian buffers may result in tree loss in protected shorelines.
Special report: The governor’s veto not withstanding, this legislative session’s farm bill is now law, and with it, state offsets and water quality protections for eastern North Carolina’s wetland environments may have evaporated.
The General Assembly has voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the Farm Act, a measure that opponents say eliminates state protections of 2.5 million acres of state wetlands.
Language in Senate Bill 582 would repeal state protections for an estimated 2.5 million acres of wetlands, Cooper said.
Critics warn that House Bill 600 threatens to chip away at some protections provided by the Clean Water Act.
House Bill 750 ratified this week bars state hiring and investment policies that consider environmental or socioeconomic factors, while Senate Bill 675 eliminates municipal extraterritorial jurisdictions.
The measure removes the state’s regulatory authority that now protects federally nonjurisdictional wetlands.