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  • Summary date: Apr 3 2019 - View Summary

    Includes whereas clauses.

    Purpose.  Amends GS Chapter 143, Article 21A (Oil Pollution and Hazardous Substances Control) to add new Part 8 to reduce use of certain toxic chemicals in firefighting activities.  The new Part provides definitions, restrictions, and civil penalties aimed at controlling the use of Class B firefighting foam that contains intentionally added PFAS chemicals.  This act also mandates transition provisions regarding notice, recall, and reimbursement by the manufacturer of that type of foam within certain time limits, with violators being subject to civil penalties.  The new sections of Part 8 are as follows.

    New provisions.  Enacts new GS 143-215.104LL defining, among other terms, Class B firefighting foam as any foam designed for flammable liquid fire, and PFAS chemicals as a class of certain compounds that are used in firefighting.

    Enacts new GS 143-215.104MM to prohibit the use of Class B firefighting foam that contains intentionally added PFAS chemicals for training purposes. 

    Enacts new GS 143-215.104NN, effective July 1, 2022, prohibiting the manufacture, distribution, or sale of the same kind of foam, except as required by federal law.  Provides that if federal regulations change to allow alternative firefighting agents that do not use PFAS chemicals, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) may adopt rules restricting PFAS chemicals.  Exempts from the restrictions foam for use at a terminal (motor fuel storage and distribution facility) or a chemical plant.

    Enacts new GS 143-215.104OO requiring notice by a manufacturer or seller of firefighting personal protective equipment to purchasers that the equipment contains PFAS chemicals; the notice must state the reason why the chemicals are added to the equipment.  Mandates that notices be kept by the manufacturer or seller for three years, and copies must be furnished upon request to DEQ within 60 days.

    Enacts new GS 143-215.104PP authorizing DEQ to request a certificate of compliance from a manufacturer of Class B firefighting foam or firefighting protective equipment which attests to compliance with Part 8.  Requires DEQ to assist other agencies and local governments in avoiding purchasing or using the restricted foam.

    Enacts new GS 143-215.104QQ creating civil penalties and procedures for notice, contested cases, and requests for remission of penalties.  Penalties span up to $25,000 depending on the type of violation, and if multiple occurrences are involved, may not exceed $200,000 in any month.  The amount of the penalty will be set using factors contained in GS 143B-282.1(b).  Authorizes DEQ to request the Attorney General to pursue a civil action against violators who fail to pay the civil penalty within 30 days after notice of assessment.  Limits civil actions to within three years of the date the final agency decision or court order was served on the violator.

    Transition provisions. Mandates that a manufacturer of the restricted foam provide written notice to sellers of its foam about the new provisions no later than July 1, 2021, and recall the product and reimburse the retailer or any other purchaser for the product.  Violators will be subject to civil penalties.  

    Effective dates. Aside from GS 143-215.104NN, the other newly enacted provisions of Part 8 become effective July 1, 2020.  The remainder of the act becomes effective when it becomes law.