Apparently yesterday the House passed HB 62, a bill with the vague title of "AN ACT to prohibit the rule to change the water quality classification of Boylston Creek from becoming effective."
Here is the text of the bill:
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding G.S. 150B‑21.3 and S.L. 2010‑157, French Broad River Basin Rule 15A NCAC 02B .0304, as adopted by the Environmental Management Commission on March 12, 2009, and approved by the Rules Review Commission on April 16, 2009, shall not become effective.
SECTION 2. This act becomes effective July 1, 2011.
Now, one probably needs to be a detective and a damned good lawyer to go back and find Rule 15A NCAC 02B .0304, GS 150B....etc. etc.
But here's what happened. In 2009, the Environmental Management Commission enacted a rule classifying Boylston Creek, a tributary of the French Broad River in Henderson County, as a protected trout stream. This erects a (relatively flimsy, in fact) protective 25' buffer along the stream, protecting what the wildlife biologists have described as a thriving population of brook trout in the stream.
For those of you not familiar with NC mountain streams, the brook trout is the only native species of salmonid in our mountains. Rainbows and browns were introduced in the 1800s, from my understanding.
If this bill were to become law, this relatively obscure mountain creek would be subject to all kinds of activities right up to the stream bank, seriously threatening the viability of the brook trout population in the creek.
It is safe to assume that the Senate will follow the House's lead on this bill. Hopefully Bev will be well practiced with the VETO stamp by the time this comes across her desk!