It was just one more example of the NC GOP over-reach so I let it go by, but I came across this nice Op-Ed that explains just how egregious the latest example of anti-environmentalism is.
It is fantasy thinking to pretend that Jordan Lake will somehow clean itself up if the General Assembly repeals upstream pollution controls as proposed in Senate Bill 515, which the N.C. Senate passed last week…
Since its impoundment in 1983, Jordan Lake [where my drinking water actually comes from] has consistently shown substantial nutrient over-enrichment, which has led to algal blooms and other water-quality problems, problems well familiar to those boating, swimming and fishing on the lake as well as to downstream communities whose water treatment plants are often unable to remove resulting discoloration, taste and odor.
Most of this nutrient over-enrichment is caused by surface water run-off flowing from surrounding and upstream yards, streets, parking lots and fields, all of which is untreated and contains whatever the water picks up as it flows downhill and eventually into the lake…
In the 1990s, recognizing that growth and development around Jordan Lake would increase, individuals, private groups and state, local and federal government agencies began closely studying the problem of increasing degradation of the lake’s water quality. To help focus this study, the Division of Water Quality of DENR in 2003-2006 conducted more than 50 large-scale, structured stakeholder meetings, all involving dozens of groups and hundreds of individuals.
These meetings, through discussion, negotiation and compromise, produced considerable agreement on goals and strategies for cleaning up the lake and maintaining water quality thereafter.
In 2007-08, the N.C. Environmental Management Commission held three public hearings attended by more than 400 people, oversaw a public comment period during which 7,100 written comments were received and held 14 subsequent meetings to deliberate over received comments.
This highly public, participatory and transparent process resulted in the EMC’s passage in 2008 of a set of water-quality regulations balancing the responsibilities, needs and abilities of the five major sectors affecting lake water quality: existing development, wastewater dischargers, new development, agriculture and state and federal governments.
Public, transparent, involvement from all stakeholders. Sounds like a model of how policy should be made. And, as for the repeal of these regulations?
Then unexpectedly this month, without public notice or discussion, with no transparency, no public involvement, no stakeholder process and no advanced word, Senate Bill 515 emerged. This bill in one fell swoop would repeal the entire set of Jordan Lake water-quality regulations that were so carefully created, despite the fact those regulations were the product of widespread study, discussion, compromise and consensus.
And what solution does the Senate propose? Nothing but further study! What possibly could be left to study?
Regulations bad!! And, even if you give the Republicans the benefit of the doubt and they are, this is absolutely no way that legislation of this sort should happen. Especially considering what went into making the original policy. Ugh.