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House | April 16, 2015 | Committee Room | Environment

Full MP3 Audio File

Hallo, welcome to enviroment committee. I guess I can quit stepping on my tippy toes. I just wanted to thank you all for being here, and we'll go ahead. We have a few members missing so hopefully they'll wander in. I'd like to introduce our pages. We have Rachel Chism, and she's from Guilford, her sponsor is John Representative Faircloth. And then we have Will Dan III thank you for being here Will from Pieth here representative Brown is his sponsor, thank you so much for being here in helping us, and our Sergeants-at-Arms are Barry Moore, BH Pearl, David Lithic, they hiss me as Lithicum, Lithic. Is it Lithicum? Lithicum, alright. Is about how my name gets it's destroyed all the time, so anyway but thank you all for serving we appreciate it. We added one bill this morning to the calender late I think it's non controversial hopefully, and representative Millers has to get to another committee, so we've decide to go ahead and let him go first Representative [xx] And this is House Bill 638 Thank you Madam Chair and I thank you committee members for allowing me to come here today and represent with you this bill. This bill here does exactly what it says it does in the title, as well as in section one, what we're looking to deal with is  that by the way of federal wealth and requirement is that we already have to mitigated for any type impact and therefore we are building public what the mitigation banks as well as there's a draw for that to be private mitigation banks, so these land are already being taken down for that purpose. So what we're going to do is capitalize on that, allow Wildlife to work with Dinah as well as to work with 3rd part pretty groups so that everybody's money go further to actually allow these lands to be utilized for a lowlife have attack as well as earning opportunities for our sportsman that is what the bill does, happy to answer any questions you may have. Representative West. For a motion at the appropriate time. Okay, at appropriate time any other questions? Yes. Representative Bascopil. Thank you madam Chair [xx] really is there anybody in the audience I'd like to know if there's anybody in the audience that has anything to say bare in mind that. I know we apologize about that I don't its controversial but is there anyone on the audience who would like to speak on either side of this issue? Want to say one comment? Okay. I work in coordination with Wildlife, our work in coordination with Dinner as well as in contract with third party groups all we're looking to do is make everybody's money go further by actually utilizing this lands for hunting opportunities and for world life have attack. I don't of anybody who loses on this bill, the taxpayer wins and everybody else associated with this does as well. Representative Adams Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman. The signs of these were solid, how large are these, can you give an example of one because I'm very interested in this. While the mitigation banks range in size, it can be a small truck, it can be thousands of acres and what we're looking to do is actually work with the army court of engineers to actually allow this actual mitigation's banks to be more online with the aspects of  our wildlife having attack and herding oportunities, so the aspects are actually having groceries for the animals as well as having opportunities for individuals to be able to hunt those, so size varies. Follow up. Would these facilities be put into a provision easement or would they be somehow protected by did I'm not establishing any type of facilities, these facilities are already exist by the Federal and State Regulations we're just basically trying to utilize him, so I'm not creating anything whatsoever, the regulation associate within has already established provide sportsman as well as the wildlife to have more opportunities to basic coincide on these lands that already been taken down for this purpose Any further questions on house bill 638? Hearing none, I think it's time for your motion Representative Wes Thank you Madam Mr. Chairman, I move that we give House Bill 638 a favorable report. It has been moved that House Bill 638 get a favorable

report, seconded and all favour say aye, Aye On oppose no. The ayes have it and your bill passes. Thank you. next we will have representative Catlin discuss House bill 186, Cape Fear water resources availability study. Madam Chair. Who said that? Yes Representative Collins. The bill we just went over is the only bill I've had disseminated to me today. I think it's coming. Madam Chair here is, you need to pass. Madam Chair. I apologize. Madam Chair. Just while we're passing out paper, if the chairs would be willing, in the many of the other committees in brief summaries as soon as they're ready at night get's circulated, and after this member it makes it a lot easier if it's done just electronically circulate bill summary routinely could I ask that again sometime like the last bill the thing just came up right there and you don't get it Well, that was my fault we won't normally do that representatives Millers wanted get that one through quickly.   Sometimes it happens but like with my upcoming bill I really was a sort of expecting everyone wouldn't see the bill summary they're going to be reading while I'm doing my presentation We'll make that part of this committee, we'll send our bill summary as soon as possible and the staff says that we can certainly do that, Thank you very much. Thank you, I think that's a great idea. Okay, does everyone now have house bill 186? representative Caitlin Thank you Madam chairman and I'm sorry I just fell out of my chair over there an spill the coffee all over the computers but that's a dangerous place to back up and turn around, this bill does have an ammenmdent it's a very technical amendment that replaces the word resources with the word review maybe we can move with that first. Yes lets go ahead and go with the amendment it' coming out right now you want to explain your amendment before your staff is passed out? Let staff explain their amendment. Okay we'll let the staff explain the amendment. Thank you madam Chair representative Katerin amendment is purely technical as indicated and the long tittle the environment review commission is incorrectly referred to the environment of resources commission so this amendment simply makes that change. Okay. Okay. Alright. The amendment has been moved for a favorable and all in favor say I, I, oppose No it passes the amendmet has passed. Let's go on with the bill. Okay, thank you. This is a study bill for the fair river basin, for future inter basin transfer analysis. And what happened is and it includes all the water resources in the basin and not just the surface waters. And I'll explain to you why that's important for the five counties that are in that part of the lower Cat Fill river. There was a carry inner basin transfer recently that had a potential impact on the Cat Fill and the study took a look at the surface water but it didn't take a look at the ground-water resources that may or may not be sustainable. And when I was a commissioner I served on the lower Cat Fill Water Authority. And we had times when we take water for five counties out of lock Dam number one, and there were times when the water did not overflow the rear. And so I was very concerned I asked Dinner to do an evaluation at that time of how long the water would last and the answer I got back was we were fine on average flow for 50 years but peak flow we were good for 30 years, and that was five years ago. So, there was some concern because everything you do is based on peak flows, all your water lines, all your pumps, all your sewage treatment plants everything is based on peak flow, building permits are based on the ability to reach peak flows. The other problem is that that study that Dina[sp?] did show that, it assumed that all of our groundwater aquifers were sustainable, and we get a lot of ground water from that area of the State, and they're not, we're getting salt water intrusion. And I have a meeting tomorrow with

USGS, they have done an analysis on lower river flows that are causing salt water intrusion up the Cape Fear River. So, we can't assume that that groundwater is going to be there, and make our allocations and our inter-basin transfers just on that data. So all this does is require an analysis of the groundwater resources, and how sustainable they are for the next inter-basin transfer request that would be on the Cape Fear River. so it doesn't say no to anything it just will give us the fact that we need to move forward so I ask for your support please. Okay are there any questions from committee members? Representative Devesco. I will comment anything we all be doing this in all of our liver basins because with the growth project in growth that we have or at least any that are potentially impacted, but I guess is a good bill. Any further questions? Do I hear a motion. Our representative McGrady. I move to they give favorable report to house bill what's the number? 186 186 as amended role that into a committee PCS unfavorable as to the original. You've heard the motion all in favor say aye "aye" oppose no the ayes have it. Thank you. Your bill passes thank you. Next we will hear a representative McGrady's feel the implementation of carbon dioxide regulations. House bill 571. Thank you madam Chair. Thank you. House bill 571 dirrects dinner to work with various state agencies experts stake holders to develop a state plan for compliance with the federal clean power plant requirements reading that I suspected there is a number of people in the room that midlerly thought because they want to see that go forward and there is a number in the room that middlerly against because they are not sure they want that, well that's not really what it is at the heart of this bill this is a planning bill we need to prepare for whatever is coming down the EPA's clean power plan, is obviously being litigated, and is going to be litigated more, and if there is a change administration you may get something else. But the issue here is not the plan or what we end up with, but being prepared at some point in the future if the EPA's clean power plan, moves forward in whatever form. And making sure that all of the key stakeholders are involved. Folks that have some concerns about the bill should draw some comfort from the fact, from two things. One, to my knowledge, everybody from Duke Power and the electric cooperatives to the environmental unity in this club and everything in between a supportive of what is in this bill. They believe we need a process to go forward, and and to put a political mirror on that, on this prime sponsor of this analysis Representative Hagger. We don't who is agree on energy and air issues, but we agree that we need our plan moving forward, so let me take you little quickly through the Bill Section one is a bunch of definitions. Section two is the operative piece of this plan, Beginning on line 27, Dinah should have developed a state plan for compliance with EPA clean power plant and in developing it, they shall do the following, and the bill then takes you through a number of things that they specifically need to do and again the key part there beginning at the bottom of the first page is established plan advisory board, which is basically a stakeholders group, and you'll see A-G anybody and everybody is being invited to be part of this. What is, I think, really good about this, is that at some point in the past when we put together State Implementation

Plans we were all about air quality and we didn't worry much about what the costs were, the costs are specifically being considered here, and so again, you've got everybody that we can think of in the bill right here, and then if we don't, read line G, Persons or representatives of any other entities that dean should to provide assistance in the development of the plan. Now, then it goes in 3 and 4 and 5 and through the rest of the bill telling again specific things that need to be considered, lays out questions in Section 6, again we tried to vet this bill so, we haven't left anything out, we're looking at everything from other energy conservation programs to market-base trading. So, no one should be left out of this process. Then the question I'd have would be well, if you set up this whole thing and what happens if something changes? Come down to Section 4 and there if it's a State plan established by the department shall have no legal effect if any of the following occurs, and that's your clause that will bring this to an end if something happens, and so if this first round of lawsuits that has I think 12 different states involved,  they win this goes away. If after the rules, the EPA Rules go final, which is this Summer and lawsuits occur at whatever point in time. This planning process goes away and obviously we're we know what elections are about and if a certain election in 2016 occurs and we have a different administration that doesn't want to go down this road. This goes away, but if none of those happen North Carolina is going to be ready to be in a position to do what it needs to do as opposed to being caught with its pants down really late in the process with really none of the answers. Now the question you might raise as well why can't we just give this to Dinner? And I would hope that that's self evident why we shouldn't just turn it over to Dinner. I think we need to see a hold of process. I think we need all the players at the table talking about the full range issues everything from cost to what will work. we are in a unique position North Carolina is we pass the clean smoke sex bill back in the 1990s we probably going to unlike a state like Kentucky that has done absolutely nothing they can clean up relatively high percentage and they haven't done anything yet. We've already moved down this road, perhaps North Carolina needs to get credit for that. The EPA rule allows for multi state compacts. We might decide that we want to have an agreement and work with South Carolina or Virginia or Georgia on a multi state compact. That's something this group can make a recommendation to and Dina can be back with us. There's all sorts of consultations built into this, so you're again, you go down you'll see it the reporting requirements, in room reports back to the general assembly, responsible committees. So I will stop there and take any questions you might have on the bill. Thank you representative McGrady, Representative Dickson. Thank you madam chair, I was just wondering I don't know if this would be the appropriate time, but will we hear from Dana on their feelings about this either now or at the end or what are your intentions madam chair? We certainly can do that if you're requesting it, we'll see if Dana is here I'm sure they are so absolutely. Tom Reardon, would you like to come and tell everybody who you are? Thank you madam chairman, I'm Tom Reardon with the department of environment and natural resources. We're neutral on this bill we don't really support it or oppose it, but we do have some grave concerns about it. And I just want to express to you what those concerns are at this point in time. As Representative McGrady just told you there is a tremendous amount of unknown about this bill. The plan in it's in this bill is not the final plan EPA has yet to

finalize a plan for this it won't be out until sometime this summer. So we think it's probably not the best time in the world right now to basically sign a blank cheque send it we are going to sign up for whatever EPA wants us to do before we've had a chance to see what it is EPA actually says and like representative Magraid said there's a trendish model legal challenges and things like that to this program, this 111D program we'd like to see that all stored up before we commit North Carolina to use on our finance resources to pursue what may or not be in this final bill. In terms of greenhouse gases I think representative McGrady mighty have alluded to those. We've already achieved the 20% reduction green house gasses in North Carolina, just by switching from coal to natural gas, and I think even under President Obama's plan you're supposed to achieve a 30% reduction by 2025 and we are well on track to meeting that goal even without this bill. So I know Representative McGrday said we don't want to just hand this over this to Dinah[sp?], we want to have stakeholder groups and stuff like that, but we've already achieved 20%, which by this bill would not, the current EPA plan would not give us credit for that 20% we've already achieved. So we are well on our way to already achieving the goal that President Obama has laid out if by 2025 achieving a 30% reduction without any of this stuff, so that's why we're hesitant and reluctant to just say OK we're going to sign up for this and start committing our resources to this, before all these legal challenges have been expanded, before the EPA has even produced what the final bill is going to be and although they said they are going to produce it this summer, you've got to remember, they've been telling us that with the Waters of the United States Bill for years now. Supposedly, we are going to get last year, we are going to get this year, we still haven't seen the final waters of the United States bill. So to me this is kind of similar, it's kind of like an air version of the Waters United States Bill in that they keep saying, yeah we're going to tell you what you need to do somewhere down the road, just go ahead and sign up for it now, and we're very to commit our resources to do that until we can see what it is the federal government actually wants us to do. Thank you madam chair Thank you Mr Rider. Representative McGrady, wanted to respond. Yeah, the assistant secretary who I value his opinion a lot though it's about arguing really the wrong issue here. Well I'm not trying to buy into whatever the federal program is, that's a mischaracterization of what the bill does. I'm trying to get prepared. And I think it's noteworthy that other states around us are already beginning to move down this process I don't want to get caught in late 2015 or early 2016 without having done a lot of work bringing these people together to work on a plan. Now what is ultimately going to be required Assistant Secretary Ridler is right and that's why we have the opt out in this bill. At any various points, the state will if this goes away, this will go away too. If the rules change at any point, this stakeholder group will know what that, those rules as they changed and again will pride to put the state in a position to be where we need to be, whenever these rules, actually become effective, if they do. Next I think was representative Collins. Thank you madam chair. I was asked to be primary sponsor of this bill and after reading through it, and doing some soul searching really, couldn't bring myself to do it, and I guess the reason I oppose this bill is, ever since I've been here in 2011, my primary quest I guess more than anything else to help lower utility rate for people where I live, because they've been way overpaying for utilities for a long long time goes back decades that town has put me at odds with our president because, for the first time he was elected he said that if his energy policy was instituted, utility would necessarily have to sky rocket, that was his words, not mine, and of course this EPA thing is part of it we know on the federal level is a war in cold they are basically trying to plans when we're trying to make a cleaner burning than we've ever been before. I'm really kind of tired of knuckling under the federal government, which is why I really couldn't put my name on this bill. I do like one part of this bill, section four I think is a great four or five lines that's the only part of the bill I like, and for the reasons I've just stated, I'll be opposing this bill. Madam Chair. Yes, response. Just a quick response again with all respect, I hear you loud and clear, I think what's important

here is look at the breadth of the coalition that is supporting it, including all the electric utility companies in the state, and there's a reason for that, because we all understand, we really need to factor in the cost and make sure that that's part of our plan and so, I hear your frustration but I really don't think we need to they are arguing over the EPA rule here we just need to be sure that we don't get ourselves shafted by not being prepared sometime and latest. Follow up. Brief follow up and it's not really question I just forgot to say one thing how much the they move much further see us take as becoming 13 states on that law suit. Okay representatives Hagger was next. Thank you Madam Chairman I'm on the bill representative McGrady which is represents heaven and hell coming together I'm not sure which side I'm which side this and I'll appreciate that what my story will be but what I think this bill does it doesn't commit us to anything it doesn't say we are going to do ABC or D it just does something that we've really never done well before and that takes sometimes to sit back and do a comprehensive plan that really drives the economics of the state and puts it in in par with the environmental pieces I actually think this is good piece of legislation that allows us to sit back and make those tough decisions very early on to get that best plan rather than be hurried once we figure out that we're under a deadline. And it doesn't bind us to do anything if something happens and the P. A looses a supreme court case and if it's thrown out then we do nothing. So really doesn't do anything for us other than allows us to plant something we've never really done very well before but it puts this plan in place and allows us to start down this path, hopefully years in advance so when we need it, but allows us that time frame to do it. Representative I think it's Harrison who was next. [xx] Adams. Representative Adams, OK Not just a quick point. Thank you Representative mcGraduy and Hager for bringing this bill to us. I thnk it's probably worth noting that the answers of the state adopting in implementing other state plan the federal government will handle as a plan they wrote so I think it makes a lot more sense to have the local input and as it as Representative McGrday says, this is a very broad stakeholder group that will have all kinds of say in how the state plans develop. And I think it makes nothing but sense. So I'm going to support the bill thanks. Representative Adams. I'll support the bill based on personal experience, with quality issues there were no more to him I say, dealt with water shed as well as air quality. Air quality is a much more difficult thing trying get your head around and with all these stakeholders it takes time to get them up to speed. There will be a lot of surprises in the preparation for this planning, is the planning saves money over time, and I would prefer to see stakeholders involved rather than turn this over to an established bureaucracy. Thanks. Any further questions? Okay, Representative Yogo[sp?]? How much do you think this will cost? The stakeholders cost, the OED the administrative cost of to bring together the group in reporting back on a periodic phase to the general assembly. The possible stakeholders are by those stakeholders. Do they want to raise their hands and be at the table? They got that option or not? In South Carolina, I believe they started out with like 35 stakeholders and its grown [xx] more people have raised their hands and want to be, really want be up to that group to compare the cost of with thousands of people who depend on you. Have Representative Hager   [xx] and to talk something about what my respective seatmate says, this doesn't preclude us from entering any lawsuit or doing anything else, it just could be in parallel. Any further questions? from committee members. Do I hear a motion? Representative Hager? Thank you madam chair. Let me get my ducks on the road here, I apologize I'm here for a favorable for House Bill 571, and I believe it doesn't have any more referrals to it, does it? That's it. Well, you've heard the motion All in favor say I I.  In the oppose, no. No. Okay, the I's have it and the bill passes. Okay, Representative Catlin will

take over as Chair now while I present House Bill 430. Let me have this copy of one. Thank you, thank you so much. No problem. Okay. hang on a minute while I move this pocket book. Okay this is House Bill 430 it's a County Omnibus Legislation that's filed by Representative Miguel Raffin, you're welcome to get started. And Mr. Chair we do have a technical amendment. Have they they're passing that out right now. We'll go ahead and let staff tell you what the technical amendment is it's very simple. And to save time, unless members want this passed out, I can just tell you what the technical amendment does, it would, on page two line 25, it would delete the word committee and substitute the word commission, throughout it's referred to as a commission and at one place it was just referred to as a committee, so it just changed to make that title correction committee to commission on page two line 25. I was acting as chair down here so. No that's fine. So is there a motion to approve the amendment. Thank you. Okay, any questions? I'm in, Okay, moved by representative Carney. All in favor say aye, Aye;   All opposed, no. The I's have it, we can move forward. Okay. Thank, may I? Yes you may; Thank you all for allowing me to present house bill 430. This is our county commissioners some of their agenda, legislative agenda is in this bill. The section one sets up a state payment in lieu of Taxes Study Commission. We tried this last year it passed, and the Study Commission never got off the ground because their friends in the Senate never appointed their people, so we are going to try it again, and what that does when the state does for instance wet land mitigation takes farm land off the tax roles or put up a building takes it off the county's tax roles, then this is a study to say how can the state somehow re-emburse these counties for their lost of tax fates[sp?]. And that's just a study yet. Section number two directs the environmental review commission to study issues around state wide fundings and programs for Euroquatic Noxias weads such as Hydrola some of our lakes are just inundated with Hydrola and it's really causing boating issues and so this directs them to study and try to figure out how we can get state-wide funding for this programs. Section three directs the revenue law study commission to study the impacts of local government exempting taxable properties for non profits In other word if you have a hospital that buys medical practice, that medical practice was actually on the county tax rows, and then all of a sudden the non-profit has purchased it. The net tax, those taxes come off because non-taxable and the counties then suffer and then all taxpayers in the county then have to pick up that extra tax so that is to have the revenue study law, study commission, study that impact to the counties. It's becoming more and more that we're losing tax base because of that. Section four clarifies local government authority to charge fees to recover cost in recycling. The statue grand that authority but it's not made completely clear in section four will make it completely clear that local government can charge their residents for recycling programs. And I can have this chair again. I'm through. Any questions? Representative McGrday? Just to comment, both Representative Carney and I are co-sponsors of the bill, and we also chair the accounting caucus. The bill was discussed in passing the no objections or concerns were raised in fact a whole bunch of people signed on as co-sponsors.

So I take that to mean there is support and at an appropriate time I'll have a motion. Representative Hager, No? Representative Collins? Just have one question, would section three include churches that move into vacant buildings that previously been occupied by a business or some other for-profit entity. Yes I would be studying that. Any non-profit that originally was, had the property was taxed on the county rules and then a non-profit moves into it then that would be part of it, but I don't that the real concern is mainly a lot of the medical centers that are being purchased by the hospitals. Okay. Representative Dickson. To follow up on representative Collin, should we maybe give that some attention to indicate that we're not interested in anybody looking at the possibility of tax and charging was in any way? May I? Yes. That will be part of the study commission they will consider those things if the set commission ever gets off the ground because that's what happened last when we put several of this studies through our counter part don't always follow suit with those commissions we hoped that this one will these are important because our counties are desperate for tax dollars and I know the state is too, when DRT take money of from the [xx] county, they use mitigation on them formally and then when I take [xx] now for building a highway then they don't get any taxes of them[sp?] and you got poor counties that are really desperate for those funds. So we got to find a way they get reinversed somehow. Representative Adams. Yes. Thank you. Looking at section three and I'm looking at line 37, I'm pointing to that again. It talks about properties required by non profit so what about donations to non profits? Would that be the same thing or am I pointing too far on it? May I? Yes. No this is just all you mean that properties that are donated. It would probably be studied also that's a good point. because it's still taking that property that was taxed off of the tax growth and they may do an exception looking for churches whatever, but they're a lot of non profits out there that there's got to be a way the counties can be somehow reimbursement. Follow?   Follow Well also cancellation [xx] have been commonly used to cover golf courses and things of that nature. there are a number of ways that can be used to shelf the things to take them off the tax rolls. You're exactly right and that's part of the issue and just like I say even our own state D. O. T takes property up to do mitigation for environmental things and when they do the state set on the property and it's not taxed and so the counties are you're asking the poor property owner in Johns County then to pay for something the State should be reimbursing them for, anyway this is their agenda. Perhaps an observation. [xx] [xx] [xx] which would take it off the tax rolls, that's another interesting scenario. Representative [xx]. Can you explain those cycling county recycling program a little more. Well most counties do charge as counties and cities do charge for recycling, but I think there the law suit and maybe we can have someone from the county explain this. I'll let you explain it. Do you you recognize? Q. Johnson from North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, that statute is currently written to provides authority to this programs, but we had a couple in one kind of particularly had some people ask where the authority was written and attorneys got together and said it would be better if it's clarified. Its been interpreted that existing statute for fouled Waste Authority gives counties authority to manage its programs, but it would be better if it would just tightened up a little bit. Follow up. So if I'm reading this correctly, if a private operator is collecting recyclables then they can't go into the business against them? I believe that's, I believe that's correct. Okay, yeah. Thank you Representative Collins.  Just had one quick question with the bill sponsor because I like 95% of this bill well I just have one kind of nag concerning the back of my mind. Would you be amenable to

a floor amendment that would, in section three would say, when acquired by a non-profit something to the extent other than churches using the property as their main place of worship or something like that? Could we? Yeah, answer. Thank you Representative [xx], the issue if brought to our attention mostly around hospitals, or for proper medical centres, in our conference and morgue county. I think that would make sense. Okay. Okay, now please follow up, so are we saying, are you two saying that you would not oppose my amendment. Are you going to do the amendment today then? Okay, Okay, Okay, Okay, Okay great. Try again. Any other questions? Representative McGrady, are you ready for a motion? This is referred to. I am, my motion is to give a favorable report to house bill 430. And it is referred to finance. With a referral financing. As amended. Is there an amendment? No we had a technical. Okay, there was a technical ammedment as ammendend role it onto a new PCS. We get it right Okay. all in favor please say Aye. Aye. All opposed? The aye's have it, thank you very much. Thank you very much. Any other questions from committee members? I'm sorry? Yes we did that first, I'm sorry, Okay, before you got here. This committee is adjourned. Thank you