HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE RECENT LEGISLATIVE SESSION INCLUDE:
74 – Omnibus Regulatory Reform Bill
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McIntire, PE, BCEE, CRM
Progress Energy Mark.Mcintire@pgnmail.com
Paul Shivers, PE
Habina Woolard, PE
City of Charlotte
Department of Transportation
Tom Bach, PE
Water and Sewer
Authority of Cabarrus County
CEO & Executive
of North Carolina
CEO & Executive Vice President:
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the news media has been busy covering the daily hirings and firings at
Department of Health and Human Services, they haven’t been able to
attention to the massive reorganization going on in NCDENR – until
the reorganization was expected under the new administration, some of
changes came about as a result of legislation and budget actions
enacted by the
General Assembly. One
big change is generating some
media coverage – the
consolidation of the Division of Water Quality and the Division of
Resources into the “new” Division of Water Resources.
reorganization, intended to cut costs, will mean job losses in one of
agency's largest permitting divisions.
Staffers in water quality and water resources will
combine over the next
few months to form one division with almost 500 employees. Before the
reorganization is complete in early 2014, the department expects to cut
70 positions in the new Division of Water Resources – half of them
vacant - and is expected to save $4 million annually in labor alone,
any impact to water quality and planning functions. That's likely to
lawmakers, who have increased pressure on the department to cut its
$2 million. It's also causing concern among some environmental
departed DENR staffers, who say the shakeup has already led to some
the merger, the Division of Water Quality was largely responsible for
permits for building projects and enforcing regulations designed to
surface and groundwater clean. With hundreds of employees, the division
of DENR's largest. Water Resources, a much smaller department, dealt
with the management and sustainability of the state's water supply.
of the newly reconstituted division's decisions have sparked
environmental advocates. An email from DENR in early September turned
federal grants totaling about $580,000. One would have funded baseline
quality measurements ahead of new natural gas drilling, or
"fracking." Another would pay for monitoring of Piedmont wetlands. In
the message, Surface Water Protection Section Chief Matt Matthews
the ongoing reorganization – and the corresponding "evaluation of all
existing programs" – as one reason for taking a pass on the money.
representatives of the Sierra Club criticized the move. (Tyler Dukes,
N&O in today’s editorial was also critical of DENR’s decision
to turn down
the two federal grants totaling almost $600k.
grants would have paid for work
by DENR’s Program Development Unit staff, which provides technical
surface water protection. The unit is being eliminated as part of an
Most Important Sections Highlighted in Red
74 – Omnibus Regulatory Reform Bill
PENC webinars and events have highlighted
the many changes enacted in the 58 page Regulatory Reform Bill. While we are still in the
reviewing certain provisions in the bill and learning from NCDENR how
be implemented, it is important that you are aware of some of its key
Part I. Improve
new law requires periodic review or
elimination of over 23,000 existing rules.
there are a lot of
rules that are now obsolete, are causing considerable angst by the
they just need to be reviewed to see if they still serve a useful
purpose. An initial
determination by the agency would
categorize their own rules as 1) not necessary 2) necessary and not
controversial and 3) necessary but controversial. The Rules Review
Commission would then review
the Agency determinations and report to the Joint Legislative
Procedure Oversight Committee for final recommendations. Some advocacy
organizations are concerned
that these determinations may allow some necessary rules to be
categorized as unnecessary since the volume of rules to review may
thorough review. Other
rulemaking require that a fiscal note be prepared for all rules changes
that the fiscal impact on local governments and NCDOT is required to be
Part II. State and Local
delayed enforcement of local ordinances when the use
constitutes a violation of a zoning or unified development ordinance.
requirement for private contractor to abide by restrictions not imposed
employers in the county i.e., the requirement to pay minimum wage.
DOT to cut or remove vegetation around outdoor advertising signs.
the bill restricted the ability of local governments to regulate or
repair or reconstruction of any outdoor advertising where a valid
the Governor’s Executive Order changed this and there is a pending
whether or not the Governor has the authority to do this.
a study of occupational licensing board agencies by the legislative
Evaluation Division to look at elimination of obsolete boards,
and other efficiencies.
cities and counties from enacting ordinances that are also
regulated by a State or federal statute enforced by an environmental
unless the local body approves unanimously.
In response to the original proposal that that
this apply to ALL city
and county ordinances (not just environmental), the bill was modified
and the ERC will study instances of local ordinances where the local
is more restrictive. This
provision is only effective until October 1, 2014 at which time the ERC
make final recommendations for the legislature to enact.
Part III. Business and Labor
Workers Comp insurance cancellation notification by electronic
private employer to use employment preference for Veterans
for the Agricultural right to work – cannot condition purchase of
products on producer’s status as union or nonunion employer
Part IV. Environmental and Public
requirements for carbon monoxide detectors in food and
definition of new animal waste management system (Section
for implementation of reclaimed water irrigation setback
rule until effective date or revised permanent rule (Section 22.c)
an ERC Water and Sewer Authority Study to look at reduction
or consolidation of sanitary districts; water and sewer authorities,
metropolitan water and sewerage districts; county water and sewer.
things, this study will determine if the newly legislated Asheville
Water Authority model could be applied elsewhere in the state.
Part V. Amend Environmental Laws
a study to determine continued need for vehicle emissions inspections
ERC the flexibility to determine whether rules are necessary for
effects of complex sources on air quality
air quality permit for 8 years and allows dissatisfied
third party to contest the determination
Coastal Area Management Act minor permit application
requirements for publication of notice requirements.
violator of sedimentation and pollution and control act to contest
for low-flow design alternatives for wastewater systems
provided they can be achieved through PE design
local health department to act within 30 days on application to
repair private well
Public Health Commission to adopt rules to provide for
notice of known contaminants to applicants
that Underground Storage Tanks installed after 1/1/1991
and prior to 4/1/2001 are not required to provide secondary containment
public entities from purchasing or acquiring property with
known contamination without approval of the Governor or Council of State
the Mountain Resources planning act established to encourage quality
development while preserving natural resources
an exemption from local government requirements regarding
number of acres for property development for brownfields
compliance boundary for groundwater quality standards at
the property boundary for various categories of disposal systems
that extended-duration permits for sanitary landfills and
transfer stations are permits for operation as well as construction
local government regulation of storage, retention or use of
nonhazardous recycled materials through the regulation of the height or
except within 200 yards of residential development
definition of “built upon area” for stormwater programs to
mean impervious surface and partially impervious surface to the extent
partially impervious surface does not allow water to infiltrate through
surface and into the subsoil. Does
include a wooden slatted deck, the water area of a swimming pool or
was a controversial provision in the legislation that caused
the Governor to consider veto. NCDENR
proposing a recommendation to the EMC to institute an “emergency rule”
with the pervious gravel issue.
agricultural ponds from riparian buffer rules
third party to contest decision of EMC regarding water
the vehicular surface requirements for stormwater runoff
contained in Article 4A of the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act
that for public water systems with expired authorizations
(within the last 10 calendar years) for water treatment plants that
deactivated may obtain new water treatment plan authorizations that
system to withdraw surface water from the same water body.
Part VI. Solid Waste Reform
deny application for permit if impact of proposed facility has
adverse impact on minority but only to the extent required by federal
applicant for proposed landfill must contract with qualified
third party approved by department for environmental impact study and
shall pay for costs of public notice and hearing
buffer and restrictions for location of future landfills
making it a little easier to get a landfill permitted
cleaning and inspection of leachate collection lines to allow remote
inspections of the lines upon completion and at least once every five
years. Cleaning of
lines is still
required but there will be no oversight by the Department.
the department establishes an alternative method of daily cover
of landfills is shall be used at all landfills in the state
owner or operator of sanitary landfills to share research and
studies conducted by third parties and to study gas to energy or other
energy technologies for renewable energy use
rule governing collection and transport of solid waste to
require leak resistant rather than leak proof material.
However the Governor issued an executive
order for this provision as well that changed this to leak proof.
Engineering Work – Opportunity for Engagement
of the most important sections of
the bill (requested by PENC) requires that NCDENR, NCDOT, DHHS and
governments to study their internal process for review of engineering
applications and plans submitted for their approval.
This would include:
processes for each environmental permit program with
respect to evaluation and approval
in place to ensure staff who are not PEs are not engaged
in the unauthorized practice of engineering
scope of review within each permit program to ensure staff
are not exceeding statutory or rulemaking authority
to eliminate unnecessary or superfluous revisions and
opportunities to streamline review.
agencies are to report their
findings to the ERC by 1/1/2014.
Chris Millis, PE is
leading this effort as an advisory committee member for the ERC. NCBELS and PENC are named
in the legislation
as parties that will be working with the ERC to provide final
before the start of the 2014 legislative session.
contact me immediately if you are
interested in working on this issue.
of the provisions in HB 74 are effective when
they become law.
480 – Environmental Permitting Reform (Legislative Priority) –
sponsored by Rep. Chris Millis, PE
legislation would establish a fast
track permit for stormwater management permits much like the current
for sanitary sewer. A
working group of
stakeholders, which includes PEs, would develop Minimum Design Criteria
include all requirements for siting, site preparation, design and
and post-construction monitoring and evaluation necessary for the
issue stormwater permits that comply with State water quality standards.
working group would also be
responsible for developing rules for the fast track process and
recommendations to the Environmental Management Commission.
EMC must adopt the rules to
institute this program by July, 2016.
contact me immediately if you are
interested in serving on this technical working group.
279 – Transfer Environmental Permits
NCDENR to transfer certain environmental permits to new permittee when
owner is unwilling or unable to agree to the transfer under certain
to stormwater, water
pollution, and local and state erosion control plans.
321 – Local Solid Waste Planning
the requirement that local governments develop and maintain a solid
396 – Enact Private Well water Education Act
local government to educate citizens owning or considering constructing
of testing requirements and minimum drinking water standards.
151 – Coastal Policy Reform Act of
version initially allowed unlimited number of terminal groins to be
this was changed to allow only 4 for now
the measure contained in the 2011 bill that limits state to four
permitting and financing easier
broader definition of terminal groin to clarify that the structure does
block movement of sand through the water and does not extend into the
note this update does not include updates to the Environment and
Natural Resources section of the budget such as the actions taken with
respect to the Rural center. This information will
be sent out next week.
always, if you have any questions,
please contact me at email@example.com or 919-834-1144 ext. 1