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Learn more about the impacts of HB 765
Environmental Self-Audit Privilege, §4.1. This provision would shield companies that violate environmental laws from penalties if they self-report. More seriously, it would hide evidence from injured neighbors seeking a remedy in court.
Stream Impacts, §4.31. Intermittent and small headwater streams account for over half of North Carolina’s stream miles, providing habitat for wildlife and protecting water quality. H765 eliminates state requirements to offset damage to intermittent streams, threatening downstream drinking water supplies.
Coastal Stormwater Requirements, §4.19. This provision weakens controls on stormwater pollution along our coasts, putting at risk the water quality that sustains our fisheries and tourism industries.
Idling Rules, §4.24. This provision repeals a state rule that limits heavy duty truck idling to 5 minutes at a time. Left running, these heavy duty engines emit particulate pollution that harms our most susceptible populations: developing children, seniors, and sensitive adults. Cost competitive alternatives to idling are available; keeping the rules in place will protect public health without harming the economy.
Air Monitors, §4.25. This provision significantly reduces the number of state air quality monitors, which are vital for detecting unexpected declines in air quality as our state continues to grow rapidly. Vulnerable North Carolinians also rely on these monitors on a daily basis to protect themselves and their families from life-threatening exposures to ambient pollution.
Risk Remediation, §4.7. This provision expands a state program that allows incomplete cleanup of soil and groundwater contamination to cover virtually all sources of contamination, past, present and future. That expansion sharply reduces ultimate protections for neighbors, communities, and the environment at most of those sites.
ENVIRONMENTAL AUDIT PRIVILEGE/SELF-DISCLOSURE IMMUNITY. Two of the most important changes to state environmental law can be found in House Bill 765 (the Regulatory Reform Act of 2015). The bill creates a new privilege for information a company gathers on its own environmental violations, preventing use of the information in a civil case. (The privilege does not apply in a criminal prosecution.) The bill also grants immunity from civil penalties and fines for environmental violations voluntarily disclosed to state regulators. Supporters of the bill believe these protections will encourage companies to conduct environmental audits to identify and correct environmental violations more quickly.
RISK-BASED REMEDIATION. House Bill 765 also makes changes to state laws allowing the person responsible for environmental contamination (the “responsible party”) to do a partial cleanup of groundwater and soil contamination by relying on land-use controls to limit future exposure to contamination that remains on the site.
Paid for by North Carolina League of Conservation Voters Foundation, PO Box 12671, Raleigh, NC 27605