Neighbors on Call's Weekly Policy Update for 7/12/21


Governance


Education Policy




Economic and Housing Policy



Environmental Policy

  • Governor Cooper signed the North Carolina Farm Act of 2021 into law. The only provision of the new law (SB 605) that received strong Democratic pushback makes it easier for state hog farmers to manage methane gas from waste lagoons by granting a general permit from the state regulatory agency instead of requiring individual permits. Republicans said the creation of a general permit is “a step in the right direction.” Democrats and environmental groups objected to the provision because of the potential harm to the environment from methane and other hog waste leaking into groundwater and the harmful effects for the health and safety of low-income communities, including many communities of color, living near the farms. Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) said, “We are establishing a general permit that doesn’t allow for site-specific reviews; it actually doesn’t allow for water quality considerations or air quality considerations… This proposal will concentrate the toxins and contaminants that are in hog waste.” The bill had received the support of a handful of Democrats in both the House and Senate.

  • The North Carolina Utilities Commission will delay approval of Duke Energy’s long-term energy plan in order to do further review of the energy company’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The IRP lays out a decade or more of proposed construction projects and expenses. State regulators must approve the plan before it can be put into place. Environmental groups have argued that the plan leans too much on natural gas and nuclear power as replacements for coal at the expense of other cheaper renewable resources. The Utilities Commission indicated it would soon issue a new order defining what it wants Duke Energy to provide for further review.

  • Governor Cooper signed HB 272, a bill that lowers the legal standard for hazardous lead levels in drinking water from 15 to 10 parts per billion.

Health Care Policy


Women’s Rights and LGBTQ Rights

Criminal Justice

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