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House | July 11, 2013 | Committee Room | Environment

Full MP3 Audio File

We are very limited for time today. Very limited. We start session at 10:00, we have through here and voting by a quarter 'til. And I know that there's going to be a lot of questions here from committee members. [INAUDIBLE] Well that's what I said, didn't I? Oh. Oh. Session at 11:00. I'm sorry. Okay, our sergeants at arms today: Bill Bass, Joe Crook, Carl Morello, and Martha Gabson. And we don't have any pages. And we have no pages this week, so that's why there's no list. Thank you very much for being here. We will probably have other members filter in. There is a P.C.S. and Senator Gunn, would you like to come forward? And Representative Faircloth also. We need to take a vote on the P.C.S. Representative Samuelson, would you like to make a motion that the P.C.S. be before us? Thank you. All in favor, say Aye. All opposed, no. Okay. All right. And we're hoping to have a minute or two for public comment, but there probably won't be time for it. This is a negotiated bill. A lot of stakeholders have been involved all the way through this process, and I'll let Senator Gunn explain that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good morning and thank you for allowing us to be here today to talk about Senate Bill 515 and the committee substitute. First of all, I just want to thank the House legislative members and DENR for working so hard to come up with a good, workable compromise bill. So I want to give credit right out front for the stakeholders who have helped us craft this bill so that we can move forward. There's nobody in here. There's nobody in this room that does not want to see Jordan Lake clean. At least I hope not anyway. I certainly know I do, and I certainly know the Representatives in here do. But the problem is, the truth of the matter is we've got a very impeded lake. What I'm going to do, and let me just briefly say on the back of the last page of your bill analysis, you'll see what the proposed committee substitute does. We're going to provide that until July 1st, 2016, additional implementation of the Jordan Lake rules and related session laws is suspended. Provisions of the Jordan Lake rules and related session laws that were being implemented prior to the effective date of the P.C.S. would continue to be implemented. And we're also going to provide for the modification implementation of protection of existing riparian buffers rules. Now, what I want to do is go back briefly and talk a little bit about what we did in the Senate and then I want to talk about where we are as we go forward with this committee House substitute. Let's talk about why we feel and I feel that these policy changes are necessary. When this lake was built, the federal government knew that this lake was impaired. Matter of fact, if you look at the first page of your bill, we give you the history of what the comments were from the Corps of Engineers when they impounded this lake back in the 70s and, I guess, near 80. Eight years of DENR studies from 2008 to 2012, the data has shown that the nutrient and resultant agal issues in the lake have not gotten better. Hundreds of millions of dollars later, we have no improvement to the quality of the water in Jordan Lake. Evidence suggests, preconstruction evidence and evidence from DENR, suggest that the deployment of unlimited resources and technology upstream will never improve the water quality of the lake itself. And I'm very appreciative to DENR. They have sat down with us face-to-face and looking us in the eye and asking the question. We asked will the Jordan Lake Rules, at any cost, have a material effect on the water quality in the lake. And they were candid and said, Senator Gunn, we cannot give you those assurances. We do not think that they are going to do what the bill was intended. Good intentions with the Jordan Lake Rules, but unfortunately where we are today, it is not working. We have new technology available today that DENR will ... [AUDIO ENDS].

That was not available that when these rules were implemented are being considered. I'll talk a little bit more detail about that in a few minutes. We all know hundreds of thousands of people depend on this for drinking water, It is a great recreational lake, it is used for economic development. It is an asset to the state of North Carolina. We have got to put in place rules that will actually clean the water and that is what our commitment is and that's what I hope will be the commitment of this house. Just for example right now, Cary is looking to spending 2 million dollars on a purification system to try and get their water so it doesn't smell, it doesn't taste bad and they are one of the least affected areas. So think about it, Cary is already spending 2 million dollars and they are in a area that is least affected. The lake rules have caused a tremendous burden up strain on the municipalities, on the tax payers, on development and on businesses. We are looking at price tags in the neighborhood of 2 billion dollars as we move forward to the implementation of these rules. It'd be one thing if we had reason to believe that these rules are actually gonna clean this lake but we have not got the evidence to prove that. Most of you probably know that when this was heard in the past through the senate, there was complete repair of the Jordan lake rules. I am here to tell you today that is in fact not what is going to happen. As I stated for, we are simply asking as a part of this bill is that we suspend the rules that are currently not in place to July 1st of 2016 while keeping all other rules that have been implemented in place and I believe maybe representative Faircloth is going tot talk about some additional information regarding the repairing of buffers and maybe the airport. We are committed and we need to be committed to fixing this lake. There are new technologies out there that we did not have and do have available now. I do wanna make sure that you do know something then I'm going to talk about it in a minute if I can I think probably Madam chair at a appropriate time. I don't know if these amendments are ready to re-note and if we could, if it's ok with the committee, I'd like to go ahead and bring forward these amendments but let me also say that once we get those in, I'd be glad to address, if I need to our staff can. If that will be okay, Manager. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Hager. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Madam Chairwomen. This amendment, I don't know if it have been passed or not, No It has been passed, thank you. It has been passed out. If it's okay with the chairwoman, I'll also spend until it passes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is this the ASP 75 version 2? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sarry one have a copy of the amendment, please explain your amendment, representative Hager. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Madam Chairwomen. This amendment basically delays the rules in question if you read through the amendment, it makes it delay. What we want to do is to have a control, setting here to where we can look at what we are trying to do, we can know if we are trying to do works and then delays it for 3 years and keeps control. We have the control to state anything we add to it after we implement this action. We will really pollute what we are trying to do so this just delays it for 3 years. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Hager just made a motion for ASP 75 version 2. Any discussion, representative Samuelson? [SPEAKER CHANGES] A question, I'd like to hear from the bill sponsors what they think about the amendment and also difference between sustained and delay and if that's the case then why are we also...

whereas causes another stop, so I 'd like a more thorough explanation and the response of the bill's sponsors. [SPEAKER CHANGES] OK, let's go head and ask Senator Gunn to respond to the suspend vs. the delay and then maybe the bill's sponsor can or the amendment sponsor can explain the other parts. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you madam chair, and thank you Representative Samuelson, if I can madam chair I would like to have Jeff Hudson answer those questions and then I will at a later time explain what we're going to do during this three year period. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Jeff, will you answer both those questions? Could you describe the rest of the amendment for Representative Samuelson also. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes ma'am. As Senator Gunn explained, the current version of the P.C.S. would suspend addition implementation of the rules until July 1, 2016. So, that just freezes the rules in place if nothing happened and then July 1 2016 came around, then the rules would all immediately go back into effect including some that may have effective dates or implementation dates of 2014 or 2015. So, if nothing happened, under the current P.C.S. at July 1 2016 you could have some issues with the rules immediately becoming effective and local governments and others having to try to scramble to address those rules. What the amendment does is rather than suspend the rules basically it freezes them in place, the amendment delays all of the effective dates by three years if they haven't begun implementation by July 1 2013 of this year all of the implementation dates get kicked out for three years so if you had a 2014 implementation date the under the P.C.S., if nothing happened by July 1, 2016 that rule would immediately become effective and its implementation would be required. Under the amendment that 2014 date would get kicked out to 2017 so there would still be some time for folks to prepare for the coming implementation of the rule. So that's the difference between suspension and delay. The other, the middle part of the amendment that you see that's deleting some lines, there's certain rules I believe the department asked for this, that they haven't become implementation prior to July 1 2013 but they're supporting rules, they're not the full regulatory rules. They need to go ahead and become effective and be implemented independent of this so they're pulled out of the definition of Jordan Lake rules so this is going to be the I believe it's the rules listed on page two line 29-32. And Line 39 and 40 so that's G, H, and L, those rules will continue to be implemented when their effective dates come around. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much. Did that answer your questions Representative Samuelson. OK. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you madam chair. I support this. This actually was part of the good faith negotiations between the house and the senate and deaner and when it comes to how it was worded, actually it was just a miswording of the ?? intent was really it, it actually was negotiated I think Representative from deanery are here and they would testify to you that they are in agreement with this amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Harrison. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you madam chair. Thank you Senator Gunn. I was specific negotiations that include an environmental list, environmental advocates, I just had a question about on page two line 13 should that also read delay? It's just suspend additional implementation Jordan Lake rules, should that be consistent? I just wondered. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I would confer to staff. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We can do that as a perfecting amendment to this amendment. It probably should be delay. the part there, it has no legal effect, but to clean it up we can do that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] OK. Representative Catlan. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I apologies for not having memorized all of the rules in North Carolina but could staff please tell me what G, H, and I are? They were taken out, is it L? [SPEAKER CHANGES] We could have someone from the department answer that. Neil, or Tom Reader? Please identify yourself and [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you madam chair, I'm Tom Reader, I'm the director of the divisional water resources. Basically, like was said by Jeff Hudson -

These are supporting rules. Basically G and H provide opportunities for local governments to provide mitigation for impacts to the buffers which, of course, the buffer rules were already implemented so they'll stay in place. And L is simply a supporting rules that provides local governments the option of providing options for their nutrient loads. So again, it's just a supporting rule and they would like those to stay in place and we concur with that. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Did that answer your question? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Yes [SPEAKER CHANGE] Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGE] So these will not be delayed. They would stay in place. [SPEAKER CHANGE] That's correct. Okay? Thank you Mister Iler. Okay, any other questions? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Yes Madame Chair [SPEAKER CHANGE] I'm sorry? Oh, Representative Luebke. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Still trying to be clear and maybe it's a question for staff like for Jeff Hudson. If I had hopes that these rules were somehow to stay in effect sooner rather than later, I want to be for the amendment or what I want to oppose the amendment? In other words, it's just a little bit unclear to me why suspend is an improvement on delay or rather delay is an improvement on suspend. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Maybe we could have the department answer that. I think this was their suggested language, so if you can identify yourself from the department. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Madame Chair. Neil Robbins with DNR. Representative, we suggested this language and I think Mister Hudson referenced it in his initial comments. What we're hoping to prevent is a stacking up of rule implementation where a prerequisite rule might come into effect immediately in July of 2016 and then be compounded by another rule that might be needed within twelve months of that rule. So this just sets forth and keeps those, the distance between those rule implementations, so that they're not getting hit with twelve months to implement a rule that they thought they would have three years to implement. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGE] May I follow up? So in effect, the fourteen fifteen sequence continues except that it's been pushed back three years. [SPEAKER CHANGE] That is correct. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Any further questions from committee members on the amendment? Okay, hearing none. All in favor of the amendment, aye. All opposed, no. Okay then, the amendment does pass. We are back on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Madame Chair. At this time I'd like to call Representative Faircloth to come up and talk to you a little bit about the amendments that we're making as it relates to some of the airport facilities. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you [SPEAKER CHANGE] On page three of the bill under Section 2c, you'll see wording there having to do with airport facilities. Particularly we were interested in assuring that, given the nature of development around our major airports at this time, we wanted to be sure that when an industry is a part of the airport function for instance say, a manufacturer of airplanes or a company that rebuilds airplanes and have to have access to the runways, they have to be right there at the airport, that they are included as a part of the airport facilities and treated just as the airport is. So that was put in there to assure that we don't impede industries that are trying to join our airport facilities. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Any questions for Representative Faircloth? Any questions on the bill at all from any committee members or comments? Representative Catlin. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you. So, we've delayed implementation for three years by that amendment. How are we going to decide whether or not, does that mean we are going to move forward or during this three year period we're going to learn something new and decide not to do those? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Gunn [SPEAKER CHANGE] You must have got my signal. Thank you. That's what I said I would address at a later time which is now. Part of the dialogue in the Senate and the original bill was, two things are going to happen that are part of this because I want

Go back and emphasize again, that the intent of this legislation is to actually clean the lake and make the water quality better in Jordan Lake. So, let's talk about that. One thing that is going to happen during this period is that we will have The Speaker and the Pro Tempore instruct the ORC to form a Jordan Lake study committee. This study will consist of Senators and House Members and we will revisit all aspects of the Jordan Lake rules. Best practices, new technology, cost, implementation, dates. It is very important that we look at the best practices that are available that Deaner, by their admission, did not have when they did these original plans. Second part of this, and I think a very important part, is that we are going to appropriate two million dollars to do a pilot project in the Morgan Creek and Haw River arms. This two million dollars, the majority of that money will come from the Clean Water Trust Fund. I always like to use Clean Water Trust Fund money to clean water. Seems to be reasonable to me. And we are going to use that to do a pilot program that will probably have to do with circulation of the lake. We know and the research that we have done, and have seen, is a big problem with the arms of that lake are the fact that we have algal blooms due to the lack of circulation. It's a bad designed lake. You've got these fingers. You've got burns that impede water flow. Just the augmentation of the lake itself, the land augmentation initiation would help. So we're going to do a very extensive study but more importantly we are also going to do a pilot project for two years that will actually use some best practices and technology that is out there to hopefully, and we are very confident, show some dramatic improvement in the lake quality. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Now, so meanwhile let's say I'm a developer. I do not have to meet the potential rules that might still be in place three years from now? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, you know these rules had been suspended now and we are pushing some of those back. I do want to tell you, to let you know this, Representative. Pushing these rules back, I want to be real clear on this, has nothing to do with the protections of that lake. Just like every other stream and lake and river in North Carolina, we are highly regulated. And I'm very supportive of those regulations. The Clean Water Act, the Safe Water Drinking Act, the Phase II Storm Water Rules, the national permit discharge and elimination system permits for outflows into the upstream tributaries of lakes. None of these are out of place now. All setbacks, guidelines, storm water rules, buffer rules that are in place remain in place. So that lake has always been protected like the other lakes and streams and buffers in the state of North Carolina. We are just pushing back some of these rules that we firmly believe are not going to have a material difference on the quality of the lake. So that we can hopefully come back to you. And it is hard. Deaner's been very involved and I appreciate it. We can show you some real results. That's the plan. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One more quick follow up, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Quickly, because we have a couple of other people who want to ask questions. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. There are municipalities that have already implemented these future rules. Is that correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Stages. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And they don't have to take those out as a result of this legislation? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, they spent a lot of money. There has actually been hundreds of millions of dollars spent already, just in my municipality alone – Burlington. They are completing now a twenty-four million dollar point source discharge system. Obviously, hopefully, there will be some advantages down the road for Burlington. And as we move forward in this bill, part of our study, Representative, will be to look at this, this by the way is an inner

Basin. This is a Haw River Basin issue and the stakeholders, the municipalities that use it, are upstream from it, are going to share in how we mitigate this problem and how we pay for it. [CHANGE SPEAKER] Representative Samuelson [CHANGE SPEAKER] Thank you Madame Chair. I have a question for the bill's sponsor but I'm guessing that the two chairs who are also chairs of Appropriations may have the answer. In that Clean Water Management Trust money that you mentioned are going to be used for the pilot project, is that on top of the current allocation for Clean Water Management Trust or would that come out of the current allocation for Clean Water Management Trust? [CHANGE SPEAKER] Representative, I wish I could give you a straight answer. I'm not positive. I do know that is where we are planning on drawing the money from. [CHANGE SPEAKER] Then I'll ask the chairs of Appropriations. When you [CHANGE SPEAKER] I understand it comes out of it. [CHANGE SPEAKER] It comes out of the current appropriation with the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. Then I'll make a comment. Since I think that amount of money is currently inadequate I will vote against the bill. [CHANGE SPEAKER] Representative Hager [CHANGE SPEAKER] Thank you Madame Chair. Just a quick question and then a motion after that please. Question for the bill's sponsor. In reading some of the letters from EPA, they were a little concerned on the nine point discharges. Just to clear that up for me, this won't shift any more weight or any more control on the MPDS discharges will it? [CHANGE SPEAKER] We don't believe that would be a fact. No sir. [CHANGE SPEAKER] Thank you, and for a motion at the proper time. I'm ?? if you're ready. [CHANGE SPEAKER] Okay. Representative Harrison has [CHANGE SPEAKER] Thank you Madame Chair and thanks to those of you who are involved in toning down the impact of this bill from what was originally passed out of the Senate. I am grateful for that. But I would note that we've studied this issue to death. We've been working on it for years. We know we've got an important drinking water source for more than 300,000 North Carolinians. It's impaired and it's not getting any cleaner because we keep delaying the implementation of the Jordan Lake Rules. And we know, as Representative Catlin pointed out, we've got some communities including some in my county that have already adopted ordinances to implement these cleanup procedures. We've got an EPA mandate that we can't ignore from the Clean Water Act to prevent the further pollution of this lake. And as that letter that Representative Hager mentioned points out, just clean out at the lake site is not adequate and we need to focus on upstream sources as well. If we do not ultimately implement these rules, as I understand it, I don't know that the EPA might end up taking over control of our water quality protection programs. The Jordan Lake Rules, as I understand it, involve agriculture and forestry inputs and those are not regulated by the EPA. So if we take out their efforts to clean up the water, it will be even more expensive for the taxpayers back home. So I think it's an unfortunate step that we are taking in delaying it. I'm very appreciative that it's not as bad as the bill that came out of the Senate but I urge you to vote no. Thanks. [CHANGE SPEAKER] Any further comments? Representative McGrady. [CHANGE SPEAKER] I also think it's an unfortunate step that we are going down this road. These rules, while contentious and very very difficult and unfortunately expensive, are what they are and I don't know that suspending them and studying them is any better. I wasn't actually going to speak on this until the Senator back into the other subject, and that is first taking money from Clean Water to spend on what is called a pilot project. The pilot project, I believe, is going to be very clearly directed at some technology, I think it's called SolarBee. Taking money out of a fund that is underfunded and then giving it to one company on technology that is unproven is a mistake. And we wouldn't normally put up with this in other contexts. We are doing this by creating a bill in three parts: Part of it in the appropriations process, part of it in the study process, part of it by suspending these rules. But together, this is still a very bad set of things that we're about and so I will likewise oppose the bill. [CHANGE SPEAKER] We're going to have one more comment. Represent Luebke was next and then Representative Catlin and then we are done with comments. We will be voting on this bill. [CHANGE SPEAKER] Well just to. If you, Madame Chair, ask me to make it as a comment. Senator Gunn [CHANGE SPEAKER] Or a question [CHANGE SPEAKER] I simply do not understand why if we are trying to clean up Jordan Lake we would delay the process by three years. It simply

Speaker:doesn't make any sense to me my city has put tremendous amount of money already into this plan so of other areas the plans are working and members i just failed to understand a logic when a plan is working why delay the plan for three years so so any interested time madame chair i had like to, Speaker Changes: senator ??, Speaker Changes: to vote against the bill, Speaker Changes: OK senator ?? what kind of respond to that please, Speaker Changes: Representative ?? i make comment to that we certainly have a fundamental difference to or believe whether the plan is working of my conversations with people lost more than with probably national resources will tel us otherwise that they are very concerned about their outcome and they are can you imagine an amount of spending i don't mind spending thousand and hundred s of millions of dollars provided we know that it is going to clean this up ?? prepared to do their share ?? is gonna do their share i know apex ?? everybody wants to do their here because the ultimate goal for all of us is to clean it up now the technology was not there that is there today given i think that's been evidence about many folks and lot of dialogues so i think this is actually if you are interested if you are truly interested in green a water Jordan lake i think this is impaired to do we do best practices and not take money that quite honest we don't evidence that is gonna make a tail difference let us find a way to clean this water i think i want you to with me to clean the water and i think this is a great way to do it, Speaker Changes: thank you very much one lat quick comment about Representative ?? and then we are going to talk a vote, Speaker Changes: thank you madame chair the reality is the rules in in place and the rules are being delayed will not clean up the delay that is the reality of the situation i drink that water in Wilmington that is important tome what i like about this that it doesn't place technology i think it will work I'm familiar with that technology i thin it will work we invest means ?? and still have a dirty lake this actually outs a three year time period in there under pressure or because this rules will go back into place to find a real solution and so there regard i will vote for this , Speaker Changes:one last comment from Representative ?? Speaker Changes:thank you Representative ?? negotiation that we are assured by ?? that they are gonna look not just nearby worldwide for whats can be done what is exceeding and what can be best done so we think it's good range Speaker Changes: Representative ?? your motion please, Speaker Changes: to make sure to get this might out for favorable as amended by the PCS as amended by the PCS rule that will be correct, Speaker Changes:that's correct, Speaker Changes:I'm favorable to original thank you, Speaker Changes:OK all in favor please say aye, Speaker Changes: aye, Speaker Changes: all oppose no , Speaker Changes: no, Speaker Changes: the aye is have it , Speaker Changes: division, Speaker Changes: division, Speaker Changes: we'll go ahead and have division all in favor raise your hand , Speaker Changes: all oppose raise your hand the bill passes 1229 ,