JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A local environmental group is raising concerns about a new bill that they say could have negative implications on the North Carolina coast.
North Carolina House Bill 488 was introduced in March and has to do with state building codes and land development regulations. It’s a long and complex bill, but the group Coastal Carolina Riverwatch has several concerns that they hope will get addressed going forward.
The group believes the bill will do more harm than good to the environment. The group’s biggest concern lies within Section 13, which has to do with stormwater control.
“It’s really difficult to put that sort of knowledge and requirements on the local individual who doesn’t have experience implementing these sorts of stormwater protections. So, putting it on the local level could cause more stormwater and more pollutants getting into our local waterways,” said the White Oak Waterkeeper at Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, Riley Lewis.
Lewis added they believe Section 10 will take away funding from local governments.
“Local jurisdictions are delegated authority over these programs by the Sedimentation Control Commission because they understand their local needs. So, leaving the fees imposed to the applicant, which this bill would do, rather than the local government could lead to insufficient funds to implement stormwater programs in the future,” said Lewis.
Group officials also said they’re worried about Section 8 which will prohibit energy conservation amendments until 2031.
Rep. Mark Brody is one of the main sponsors of the bill and defended this section.
“We are going to prohibit the adoption of the IECC or the International Energy Conservation Code in North Carolina, we will prohibit the inaction of that because we’re a state [where] 16% of our GDP and 16% of our workforce is involved in construction and we want to see that construction be continued to exist and grow,” said Brody.
The bill’s last action was on March 30. Brody says its next stop will be house finance.