2010 NC Water Legislation
From Water Wiki
Improve hydrologic modeling
H1743/S.L. 2010-143 (Improve River Basin Modeling.) This legislation defines "ecological flows" and directs the NC Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources to incorporate consideration of ecological flows into river basin models for all North Carolina river basins. It also sets out uses of these models and suggests a prioritization approach for development of the models.
Uwharrie Regional Resources Commission (Yadkin)
H972/S.L. 2010-176 creates a Uwharrie Regional Resources Commission, modeled loosely on the Mountain Area Resources Commission of SL 2009-485. The Uwharrie Commission, however, is given an additional authority: "To pursue efforts directed at the equitable distribution of water for public purposes." This is apparently intended to allow the new commission to serve some of the roles in the proposed, but not passed, legislation creating a trust for ownership and operaton of the the hydroelectric projects on the Yadkin River now licensed by Alcoa.
IBT exemptions and various other measures, including a new Falls Lake intergovernmental entity
H1765/S.L. 2010-155 started as a bill to amend interbasin transfer laws in coastal areas. It ended with several discrete changes in water policy:
- Authorizes coalitions of local governments to jointly implement water quality protection plans for the falls lake watershed;
- Provides that an applicant for an interbasin transfer certificate shall pay the costs associated with all required public hearings;
- Creates a temporary, streamlined interbasin transfer certification process for interbasin transfers in the central coastal plain capacity use area and into isolated river basins;
- Authorizes the environmental review commission to study certain conditions on interbasin transfers; and
- Provides that beneficial reuse of wastewater includes certain facilities that require relocation of a discharge from one receiving stream to another
Disapprove river reclassification
S1259/S.L. 2010-157 (Delay Boylston Creek Reclassification/Pub. Meetings). The Environmental Management Commission decided to reclassify Boylston Creek, in the French Broad River basin (Transylvania and Henderson counties), to a Class C trout stream after finding a significant population of brook trout in a six mile reach. The new classification would require a riparian buffer, 25 feet on each side of the stream, to protect against siltation and other degradation of water quality. Residents and legislators in the area opposed the reclassification. As with several other bills to disapprove environmental rules in 2010, however, the legislative disapproval bill did not pass. For the Boylston Creek reclassification, however, opponents of the trout water classification succeeded in delaying the effective date of the rule and requiring two additional public meetings.
This package of bills, recommended by the legislative study commission on water and wastewater infrastructure, contains several measures that had previously been recommended by the State Water Infrastructure Commission and the Water Allocation Study and others that refine or retract recent changes in water infrastructure finance.
H1744/S.L. 2010-151 Water Funding Priorities
Modifies the common criteria applicable to loans and grants for water and wastewater infrastructure projects to:
- clarify that leaking waterlines are a priority for both water quantity and water quality purposes;
- include asset management planning, regionalization, state water supply planning, and drought management in the list of common criteria that receive priority for funding;
- establish a sliding scale system for determining the priority given to projects that exceed the high-unit-cost threshold; and
- provide that a project that demonstrates it is not feasible to regionalize shall be given the same priority as a project that includes regionalization
H1746/S.L. 2010-144 Water Infrastructure Information Needs
Sets up a study of the integration of water and wastewater infrastructure needs data and of the possible further financial review of public water and wastewater systems.
H1747/S.L. 2010-150 Water Supply System Capacity Planning
Requires revisions of local water supply plans when a unit of local government or large community water system reaches a point at which eighty percent (80%) of the water
system's available water supply based on calendar year average daily demand has been allocated to current or prospective water users or the seasonal demand exceeds ninety percent
H1748/S.L. 2010-149 Conserve and Protect Ag Water Resources
Directs agricultural interests to develop a plan to assess agricultural water infrastructure needs, which are not currently included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's water needs survey (the topic of H1746).Also calls for development of a program for agricultural cost-share of water resource projects, currently limited to water quality projects.
State Environmental Policy Act
S778/S.L. 2010-186 (SEPA doesn't apply to business location incentives) & H1099/S.L. 2010-188 (Clarify Effective Date for SEPA Exemption). A NC Superior Court Judge ruled in 2010 that the State Environmental Policy Act applies to economic incentives offered to Titan Cement Company to induce it to build a cement plant on the banks of the Northeast Cape Fear River. The Act (SEPA) requires an environmental review of projects that receive public funding or use public land. This was the second superior court judge to hold that when SEPA says "public monies" it includes economic development incentives. The General Assembly responded, at the request of the business community and local goverments, by amending SEPA to exclude "A project for which public monies are expended if the expenditure is solely for the payment of incentives pursuant to an agreement that makes the incentive payments contingent on prior completion of the project or activity, or completion on a specified timetable, nd a specified level of job creation or new capital investment." However, the legislature also clarified that the exemption did not cover the proposed Titan Cement plant.
Oil Spill Liability, Response, & Preparedness
S836/S.L. 2010-179 makes any responsible party for an oil spill into coastal waters or offshore waters, including oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, that causes damages to the territorial jurisdiction of North Carolina strictly liable with no cap on damages. Additionally, the bill requires the State to be provided with detailed information and data requirements prior to any future offshore proposal.
Amend Environmental Laws
H1766/S.L. 2010-180 (Amend Environmental Laws 2010), the annual catchall bill for state environmental law, provided for the following: (1) Change The Location Of The Horizontal Control Monument Files For Plat And Subdivision Mapping Requirements; (2) Provide That The President Pro Tempore Of The Senate And The Speaker Of The House Of Representatives May Designate Multiple Members To Serve As Cochairs Of The Environmental Review Commission; (3) Repeal The Requirement That Remedial Action Plans Be Recorded In The Register Of Deeds Office And Modify The Requirement That Remedial Action Plans Be Placed In Each Public Library In The County; (4) Reestablish The Surface Water Identification Training And Certification Program As A Component Of The Riparian Buffer Protection Program; (5) Amend The Customer Reporting Requirements For Small Wastewater Systems; (6) Amend Civil Penalties For Certain Air Quality Violations To Conform With Changes Made In S.L. 2007-296; (7) Change The Name Of The North Carolina National Park, Parkway And Forests Development Council To The Western North Carolina Public Lands Council; (8) Clarify The Standards For Qualification Of Voluntary Water Conservation And Water Use Efficiency Programs; (9) Amend The Enforcement Authority Of The Department Of Environment And Natural Resources Under The Drought Management Preparedness And Response Act; (10) Amend Designation Of The Member Of The Sedimentation Control Commission Representing A North Carolina Public Utility Company; (11) Amend The Notice Requirements For Cities, Counties, Sanitary Districts, And Water And Sewer Authorities When Imposing Or Increasing Certain Fees Or Certain Charges; (12) Provide That The Prohibition On Any New Or Increased Nutrient Loading Allocation Applies To Impaired Drinking Water Supply Reservoirs; (13) Direct Certain State Agencies To Review Their Planning And Regulatory Programs And Recommend Whether Those Programs Should Include Consideration Of The Impacts Of Global Climate Change; (14) Require All Public Agencies To Recycle All Spent Fluorescent Lights And Mercury Thermostats, Require The Removal Of All Fluorescent Lights And Mercury Thermostats From Buildings Prior To Demolition, And Ban Mercury-Containing Products From Unlined Landfills; (15) Authorize The Environmental Review Commission To Study The Penalties Applicable To Violations Of G.S. 130a-309.10 (Prohibited Acts Related To Packaging; Coded Labeling Of Plastic Containers Required; Disposal Of Certain Solid Wastes In Landfills Or By Incineration Prohibited); (16) Provide That Local Governments And Large Community Water Systems Only Require Separate Meters For New In-Ground Irrigation Systems For Lots Platted And Recorded In The Office Of The Register Of Deeds After July 1, 2009, That Are Connected To Their Systems; (17) Prohibit The Use Of High Arsenic Content Glass Beads When Marking State Or Municipal Roads Or Public Vehicular Areas; (18) Enable Traditional Country Stores To Sell Uncooked Sandwiches Prepared On Premises By Store Employees; (19) Revise The Sunset Provision For Nutrient Offset Payments; (20) Make A Technical Correction To The Definition Of "Notebook Computer"; And (21) Delay The Effective Date Of The Clean Coastal Water And Vessel Act From July 1, 2010, To April 1, 2011, To Limit The Act's Application To Only Those Areas That Are Designated As No Discharge Zones By The United States Environmental Protection Agency; And (22) Clarify The Scope Of Research For The Coastal Wave Energy Research And Prototype Project Authorized In The Current Operations And Capital Improvements Appropriations Act Of 2010; And (23) To Amend The Nc Sustainable Communities Task Force.