Zombie Hardisan hiding in the budget

GOP plan: Move backward with old, failed policies:

At one time North Carolina suffered under what were then called the "Hardison Amendments" (named for a now-retired State Senator, Harold Hardison). The Hardison Amendments were attached to most of North Carolina's environmental laws, and prohibited state environmental protection agencies from adopting any rule which would be stricter than its federal-level equivalent.

This all comes down to how you define whether something "worked" or not. The Hardisan Amendments may have failed to protect the public's air and water quality, but they "worked well" for industrial polluters.

Also known as the "handcuff amendments", they kept our state's public health and pollution control programs in a retarded condition, unable to respond to local and regional problems or to move any faster than a snail's-pace federal bureaucracy. They were repealed in wiser legislative days (1991). It's been 20 years since our state was handcuffed to the federal lowest common denominator.

If Senate budget-writers get their way, that will all change this year. North Carolina will go back to trailing the nation in protecting our people from pollution. Buried in the dregs of the budget (whose authors once properly condemned the shadowy practice of sneak-legislating via "special provisions") is the Return of Hardison. This would be a real-life horror film for public health and what makes our state a special place to live. The new "handcuff amendments" would have blocked the enactment of many protections on which North Carolinians already rely--from limits on toxic air pollutants to controls on landfills, from river buffer protections that keep our water clean and fisheries alive to the sedimentation/erosion controls that keep mud out of our streams and lakes. If enacted now, they will block North Carolina from dealing with "fracking" (underground injections to release gas, which can also contaminate water supplies), coal ash ponds, mercury emissions, and more.

NCLCV is asking its members, volunteers, and friends to call Gov. Bev Perdue at 919-733-4240 and ask her to insist that these bad environmental policy riders must be removed from the budget. This is the time to call in those green stamps. Help save North Carolina's clean water, air, land, and public health from a continuing downward spiral under legislative assault!

Just a note: NC's League of Conservation Voters has (in the past) worked behind the scenes in a non-combative non-partisan fashion, often successfully, to tone down the environmental unfriendliness of many pieces of legislation.

To see them take a more publicly aggressive stance does not bring a smile to my face as you might think. It is just one more example of the "death of reason" in the GOP-led General Assembly, and the overwhelming influence that polluters now wield over Republican lawmakers.