SB 10 – Government Reorganization and
this week, the House gave final approval to legislation that would sweep aside
a number of current state board and commission appointees before their terms
would have expired. The Senate yesterday
received these changes and voted not to concur with the House bill, setting up
negotiation between the two chambers that would result in a compromise
bill. The Senate’s displeasure with the
House bill primarily focuses on the House provision that would restore a dozen
special Superior Court judgeships eliminated in the original Senate bill.
The original Senate bill, among other things, eliminated a number of
current state board and commission appointees in an effort to give the Governor
an opportunity to appoint “like-minded” individuals. PENC opposed parts of this bill because it
eliminated the requirement for a Professional Engineer appointment to the
Environmental Management Commission.
However, last week, the House not only restored the PE qualification and
allowed this individual to serve through June, 2015, it also included two
appointments for individuals experienced in engineering in the coastal area to
the Coastal Resources Commission and, also added Engineering as an experience
and competency qualification for persons serving on the powerful NC Utilities
Action: PENC strongly supports the House version of SB
10 and encourages our members to contact your legislators urging them to retain
the Engineering qualifications for the EMC, CRC and Utilities Commission
included in the House bill.
McCroy recently appointed Don M. Bailey, PE (Union County) to the NC Utilities Commission.
Bailey is the primary energy engineer at
ATI Allvec. He has been a professional engineer in North Carolina since 1979. Read
SB 76 – Domestic Energy Jobs Act
Engineers Speak Out on Fracking Waste
Monday, the News and Observer reported on a provision included in SB 76
recently passed by the Senate and now before the House that would lift the ban
on using deep well injections for industrial waste disposal. The legislation, which is a signal to the
oil-and-gas industry that North Carolina is eager to host shale gas exploration
activities, would also lift the state’s fracking moratorium in March 2015.
current injection proposal included in SB 76, shifts the debate from the center
of the state, where much of the fracking would occur, to the coastal
communities where the disposal wells would have to be drilled.
Rep. Rick Catlin, a Professional Engineer from Wilmington
serving in the State House, states that “this issue will be very controversial”. Representative Mike Hager, an Engineer that
chairs the House Public Utilities Committee said the implications of lifting
the waste disposal ban are so far-reaching they raise serious doubts and will
require further study.
sponsor Sen. E.S. “Buck” Newton said the concerns may be premature. He said
such injections are an accepted method of disposal and have been successfully
done hundreds of thousands of times in the United States.
Catlin urges caution, “You’re basically contaminating an aquifer forever,”
Catlin said. “Please don’t inject any down here.”
HB 10 – Remove Route Restrictions for NC 540
Loop Adds Removal of Funding for Three Turnpike Projects
Senate Transportation Committee today, Senator Bill Rabon surprised visiting
House member, Nelson Dollar who was presenting HB 10 to the Senate committee by
amending his bill to include removing authorization and funding from three
turnpike authority projects: Garden
Parkway, Mid-Currituck and the Cape Fear Skyway. The amended bill received a favorable report,
was immediately placed on the Senate calendar for today and passed second
original bill was promoted as a way to appease the FHA who threatened to oppose
funding the 540 extension unless the route restrictions, imposed in a previous
law, were removed. The Army Corps of Engineers
requires that at least two proposed routes be studied before it will issue an
environmental permit to allow highway construction to begin, and federal
officials wanted to compile statistics on the impact each possible route would
have on homes, businesses and the environment.
New Bills Filed:
HB 201 (Torbett) – Reinstate 2009 Energy
Conservation Codes. An Act to reinstate the 2009 North Carolina
Energy Conservation Codes and Repeal the 2012 North Carolina Energy
Conservation Codes. Read
HB 222 (Moffitt) – Buncombe County/Use
Design-Build Methods. An Act to allow
Buncombe County to use the design-build method of construction. Read
SB 163 (Jackson, Cook, Rabin) - Protect
Landowners’ Water Rights. An Act to enhance the protection of landowners’ water
SB 171 (Jackson, Brock and Davis) – Limit
Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. An Act to prohibit state agencies and local
governments from adopting, implementing or enforcing a rule or ordinance that
regulates greenhouse gas emissions or limits human activity for the purpose of
reducing greenhouse gas emissions if the rule or ordinance is not required by a
federal regulation or law or is more stringent than a corresponding federal
regulation or law. Read
HB 157 (Jeter) – Limit Use of Highway Fund
Credit Balance. AN
ACT to protect the taxpayers of North Carolina from the diversion of fuel tax
proceeds for nontransportation uses by requiring that the Unreserved credit
Balance in the Highway fund be used for Road related uses. Read
HB 195 (Jeter) – Cornelius/Extend Use of
AN ACT extending the authority of the town of Cornelius to use design build
delivery methods. Read
SB 151 (Rabon) – Coastal Policy Reform Act of
2013. AN ACT to establish an expedited
process for the modification of interbasin transfer certificates and for the
issuance of interbasin transfer certificates in the Central Coastal Plain
Capacity use area and the coastal area counties and TO CLARIFY THE AUTHORITY OF
COUNTIES AND MUNICIPALITIES TO have structures removed from the STATE'S public
trust ocean beaches. Read
Other Bills with Recent Action:
HB 120 (Hager, Brawley, Arp) – Building
Inspections/Local Consistency. AN ACT to require approval from the North
Carolina Building Code Council before a unit of local government may require
building inspections in addition to those required by the building Code and to
specify the frequency and effective dates of Code updates.
Recent Action: Given favorable report in House Committee on
SB 111 ( Jackson) - AN ACT to allow the city
of Clinton to use the design build method of construction.
Recent Action: Given favorable report in Senate State and
Local Government Committee.
HB 180 (Stevens) – Mechanics Liens/Technical
Corrections. An ACT to make various technical corrections
to the laws governing mechanics liens.
Recent Action: Given favorable report in House Judiciary
studying a controversial property rights issue related to fracking is
recommending a policy aimed at protecting landowners near a drilling operation.
Under the policy recommendation adopted by the N.C. Mining and Energy
Commission's Compulsory Pooling Study Group, gas companies would be required to
negotiate for the rights to go on a property, even if the mineral rights
beneath the land are in a compulsory pool. Compulsory pooling compels
landowners to sell their mineral rights if their neighbors allow a drilling
operation on their property. The recommendation is contingent on whether the
group had a quorum at the meetings. Only two of the group's four commission
members were present. Ray Covington, chairman of the group and a member of the
commission, said he will present the recommendation to the commission next week
if the state Attorney General's office says the consensus agreement was valid.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves horizontal drilling that could
extract gas from land not directly under the area where the process starts. The
controversial method uses chemicals, sand and water to fracture rock formations
and release natural gas. Scientists believe prehistoric rock formations beneath
Lee and nearby counties may contain large deposits of the gas. Fracking
opponents say they are worried that fracking might harm people and the
environment. Supporters say it can be done safely and will bring a much-needed
economic boost to the area. The policy recommended by the study group has to be
approved by the commission writing rules for fracking in North Carolina.(Steve
DeVane, THE FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER, 3/01/13).
mayor is pleased that legislators slowed a bill that would shift control of
North Carolina's largest airport from the city to a regional authority. The
sponsor of the bill to create a new oversight body for Charlotte Douglas
International Airport said he delayed floor debate Thursday to get information
about the proposed change on bonds the airport has issued. Sen. Bob Rucho of
Matthews rescheduled debate for next Wednesday. Mayor Anthony Foxx and the city
council have opposed the switch and say the authority idea should be studied.
Foxx said Thursday the proposal seems like a solution looking for a problem
with one of the country's busiest airports. Rucho has said the airport needs
the expertise of an authority as a rail freight project there gets under
way.(THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 2/28/13).
NC Ranked No. 1 in Creating Clean Energy Jobs
Carolina led the country in the fourth quarter of 2012 - and ranked second for
the entire year - in clean-energy and clean-transportation job announcements,
according to Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). Read
AREVA Moves North American Headquarters to
Charlotte Bringing Engineering Jobs
French energy giant AREVA will move its North American headquarters from
Maryland to Charlotte in an expansion expected to bring 130 new energy jobs to
the city by 2016. Read
NC Support for Renewables Remains Strong,
Carolinians never met a fuel for producing electricity they don’t like, but
they like solar best of all, according to a poll commissioned by the N.C.
Sustainable Energy Association. Read
NC Cracks the Top 10 List in Adding Clean
Carolina was among the top 10 states in the production of clean energy jobs in
2012, according to the Washington-based group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).
Triangle’s Largest Engineering Firms
services engineers provide are a vital part of the Triangle’s business
community. Engineers help design and build everything from roads to commercial
buildings to houses. They also work to keep the environment safe and develop
chemicals that allow the modern world to work. Read
PENC's "Engineering Grand Challenges" School in Spotlight
National Academy of Engineering all-star committee knew that civilization had
been transformed by engineering achievements in the last century: television,
automobiles, airplanes, refrigeration, the electric grid, computers, the
Internet. They believed advances in this century could be no less dramatic, but
that audacious goals were needed.
group outlined 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering. All would improve the way
we live. Some could save our planet. The NAE Grand Challenges awards should
generate as much excitement and publicity as the Oscars. Read