North Carolina Legislators Also Did a Lot of Environmental Damage This Year

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The news might have flown under the national radar, what with all the motorcycle safety laws that actually deal with abortion and horrible voter ID bill action that’s been happening in the North Carolina this summer, but the state’s environmental laws were another casualty of this legislative session.

First, the legislature passed a law tossing out all the members of the state’s Environmental Management Commission and nearly all of the members of the Coastal Resources Commission (which was better than the original law, which would have fired a bunch of other people as well). And before wrapping up last week, the legislature also approved a one-year moratorium on localities passing their own environmental rules. That bill is now sitting on Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk awaiting approval.

The Charlotte Observer has a wrap up of all the environmental malfeasance that went down in this legislative session. Among other things, one bill that’s still awaiting McCrory’s signature “prohibits local governments, for a year, from passing environmental rules that state or federal governments also address.” That could be a big problem, the Observer reports:

But Robin Smith, a former assistant N.C. secretary of the environment who writes an environmental law blog, said restricting local rules could backfire. State rules often require that local ordinances be adopted, she said, and local conditions sometimes demand local rules.

“It is difficult to predict how big a problem the moratorium would be given the very different circumstances in cities and counties across the state, but it seems an unnecessary gamble,” she wrote last week.

Dan Crawford, director of governmental relations for the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, tells Mother Jones that they’re now lobbying hard to get McCrory to veto the bill. “Federal guidelines are meant to be a floor, not a ceiling,” he said.

Crawford said this was the worst he’s seen in 15 years of lobbying on environmental issues. “I can’t think of a time where it’s been any worse,” he said. “We were in the bull’s eye.”

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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