Guest commentary: The effects of Hurricane Florence in 2018 linger today, and though progress toward resilience has been made, the recent loss of wetland protections will come to bear after future storms.
Groups that have for more than 40 years led the fight for clean water say the public may not be fully aware of the potentially devastating effects the latest federal rule could have for NC wetlands.
The Clean Water Act rule issued Tuesday redefines “waters of the United States” and leaves unprotected wetlands with no surface connection to navigable water bodies.
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.
Language in Senate Bill 582 would repeal state protections for an estimated 2.5 million acres of wetlands, Cooper said.
The measure removes the state’s regulatory authority that now protects federally nonjurisdictional wetlands.
The 5-4 decision means that the definition, “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, applies only to wetlands that have “continuous surface connection.”
Environmentalists say the bill would strip the state’s ability to fill in regulatory gaps to protect federally nonjurisdictional waters, including isolated wetlands.
The 227-196 vote included all seven North Carolina House Republicans and 1st District Democratic Rep. Don Davis in favor of the veto override.
President Biden’s final rule defining “waters of the United States” restores federal protections for streams, lakes, ponds and millions of acres of wetlands in North Carolina.
American Rivers, which had previously called the Neuse one of the country’s most endangered, hailed progress made.
The state Rules Review Commission is set to consider proposed permanent rules created to correct a gap in North Carolina’s permitting authority over certain federally defined wetlands.
A virtual meeting is set for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday to review the effects of former, current and proposed changes to the regulatory definition of Waters of the United States and explore what the changes will mean for farmers and their property.
The EPA and the Army published Tuesday in the Federal Register the final replacement rule defining the scope of waters federally regulated under the Clean Water Act set to take effect June 22.