Senate Budget stops DEQ from implementing hog waste permit changes


Putting the health and welfare of NC citizens at riisk:

The Senate bill, which was released Tuesday, includes significant differences in funding for environmental programs and Department of Environmental Quality spending plus a number of policy proposals not in either previous plan.

Among the top differences is spending on research and testing on emerging contaminants, upgrades and additions to DEQ’s main laboratories and several new special provisions, including a review of the recent process for adopting new general permit requirements for animal waste management systems that would delay for a year the implementation of tighter controls for swine, poultry and cattle operations.

Apparently in the minds of Republicans, elections don't have consequences. They are following the recommendations of the former DEQ Secretary (van der Vaart), who is now a John Locke Fellow (whatever the hell that means), instead of the current DEQ Secretary Michael Regan:

DEQ Secretary Michael Regan said the animal waste permit changes in the budget provision delays were not new rules or regulations. He said they are part of the permit-writing process that’s within DEQ’s authority and that the changes, which were the result of discussions with numerous stakeholders and a review of more than 6,500 public comments, would provide more certainty to farmers and communities.

“The Senate’s budget provision, unlike our permit process or even a proposed bill, lacks transparency and justification,” he said.

The Senate also would put on hold policy changes on emerging contaminants along with any increases in spending for DEQ proposed in both the House and governor’s budgets.

Bolding mine, because we're talking about more than just GenX. The acute contamination from fire-fighting foam is popping up all over the place, not just military bases, and we need a concerted effort to identify and deal with these problems before the next "unknown" batch of chemical compounds are developed. While Berger is playing politics we're slowly being poisoned, and it needs to stop.

If the Budget that emerges from the House/Senate scrum still includes these provisions, Governor Cooper needs to Veto that baby with a vengeance. And when he makes that announcement, putting our health in jeopardy needs to be the leading reason. Because you can bet Republicans will cherry pick the few good things and claim Cooper doesn't want to help state employees, or rescue puppies, or some other nonsense.