AN ACT TO MAKE VARIOUS CHANGES TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS OF THE STATE. SL 2022-43. Enacted July 7, 2022. Effective July 7, 2022, except as otherwise provided.
Summary date: Jul 26 2022 - View Summary
Summary date: Jun 28 2022 - View Summary
Conference report amends the 3rd edition as follows.
Makes a technical change to Section 1's definition of the term directed infrastructure grant recipient.
Changes the directive set forth for the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to convene a stakeholder working group by July 1, 2022, to develop an approach to expedite permit issuance under the express permit and certification review set out in GS 143B-279.13, and the fast-track permitting for stormwater management systems program set out in GS 143-214.7B and 15A NCAC 02H .1043 and .1044, to instead direct DEQ to study approaches to expedite permit issuance under the same described statutes and rules. Makes conforming deletions. Maintains the directive requiring DEQ to report to the specified NCGA committee by December 31, 2022.
Adds the following new content.
Applicable only to permits for a new or expanded wastewater discharge facility issued on or after the date the act becomes law, enacts GS 143-215.1(c7) to prohibit, for surface waters that have naturally occurring low dissolved oxygen levels as determined by DEQ, permitted wastewater discharges to such surface waters from causing a reduction in the dissolved oxygen levels of such surface waters of more than 0.10 mg/l below the approved modeled in-stream dissolved oxygen level for the surface waters at total permitted capacity for all discharge to such surface waters.
Amends GS 74-50 regarding mining permits as follows. Makes technical and clarifying changes to the definition of land adjoining. Regarding required notice by the applicant or operator at the time of application for a new mining permit or modification of a mining permit to add land to the permitted area, now specifies that notice to the owners of record of land described in subdivision (b1)(2) or (3) is required only with respect to land to be added to a permitted area for applications for modification of a mining permit. Makes organizational and clarifying changes. Amends subsection (b2) to specify that the requirement for notices to include the opportunity to submit comments and request a public hearing applies to proposed new or modified mining operations that add land to the permitted area.
Amends GS 74-61, expanding the grounds for which an applicant, permittee, or affected person can petition to contest a decision of DEQ regarding mining permits, reclamation plans, and related disciplinary actions, to include DEQ's granting of a permit or reclamation plan in addition to denial, suspension, modification, or revocation actions. Adds that the date of the decision to grant, deny, suspend, modify, or revoke a permit application is when DEQ posts the decision on a publicly available website.
Summary date: Jun 1 2022 - View Summary
Senate committee substitute replaces the content of the 2nd edition with the following.
Requires directed infrastructure grant recipients, defined as any entity receiving a direct allocation of funds from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund under the 2021 Appropriations Act, SL 2021-180, Sections 12.13(d), 12.13(e), 12.13(f), or 12.14(b), all of which provide allocations to identified local governments and public entities for water and wastewater infrastructure projects or stormwater projects, to provide a complete Request for Funding form with a project budget describing a project that is eligible for funding under applicable federal and state law by June 30, 2023. Requires directed allocations to fully revert on July 1, 2023, and be reallocated as prescribed by the application reversion provision if the directed infrastructure grant recipient failed to provide a form by the deadline or provides a form describing a project ineligible for funding.
Identifies the applicable reversion provision of directed allocations for water and sewer projects under Section 12.13(d), (e), or (f) as Section 12.13(c), SL 2021-180, which requires funds to revert to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for other water and sewer infrastructure projects, and the applicable reversion provisions of directed allocations for stormwater projects under Section 12.14(b), as Section 12.14(i), SL 2021-180, which requires funds to be returned to DEQ to be granted to other eligible entities. Provides for partial reversion of amounts in excess of the projected budget submitted by the directed infrastructure grant recipient by June 30, 2023, with reversion on July 1, 2023, for amounts to be reallocated as specified by the applicable reversion provision.
Amends Section 40.7, SL 2021-180, expanding the authorized uses of funds transferred from the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund to DEQ for stream debris removal, to include other flood mitigation strategies prioritized through the Flood Resiliency Blueprint developed as prescribed by Section 5.9(c) of that act.
Repeals Section 40.7(b), SL 2021-180, which (1) exempts stream debris removal projects funded under Section 40.7 from the requirements of Articles 1, 4, and 7 of GS Chapter 113 (which establishes powers and duties of DEQ, provides for protection of forests and fire control, and the State's game laws), as well as requirements for stormwater or water quality permits under Article 21 of GS Chapter 143 (which regulates water and air resources) and (2) directs DEQ to waive any right of certification under section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act with respect to projects funded by SL 2021-180.
Applies retroactively to July 1, 2021.
Corrects a cross-reference to a subdivision of Section 5.9(a), SL 2021-180, referenced in Section 5.9(c), SL 2021-180, relating to funds allocated to DEQ's Division of Mitigation Services to contract with an organization to develop a statewide Flood Resiliency Blueprint for major watersheds impacted by flooding (previously referenced Section 5.9(a)(1), which allocated funds to the State Match Fund). Applies retroactively to July 1, 2021.
Repeals Section 13.16 of the 2010 Appropriations Act, SL 2010-31, which (1) directs DEQ's Division of Marine Fisheries to use mechanics employed by the Division of Forest Resources in performing aircraft maintenance for all aircraft of the Division of Marine Fisheries, except when impracticable; (2) directs the Division of Forest Resources to perform aircraft maintenance using its mechanics for all aircraft of the Division of Marine Fisheries, except when impracticable; and (3) directs the Division of Forest Resources to develop a process to establish priorities for the aviation maintenance needs of all the aircraft in both the Division of Forest Resources and the Division of Marine Fisheries.
Amends GS 113A-110, which authorizes counties, through their designated bodies, to adopt coastal area management land-use plans pursuant to the procedures required by the statute. Regarding the required public hearing prior to a body adopting or amending a land-use plan, requires notice of the hearing to be published at least one time, at least 10 but no more than 25 days before the date scheduled for the hearing, with the day of publication not included and the day of the hearing included in computing the notice period (replaces the current 30-day notice requirement). Requires publication at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the area (was, the county). Requires copies of the proposed plan or amendment to be available for public inspection at a designated county or local government office (was, designated office in the county courthouse).
Directs DEQ to convene a stakeholder working group by July 1, 2022, to develop an approach to expedite permit issuance under the express permit and certification review set out in GS 143B-279.13, and the fast-track permitting for stormwater management systems program set out in GS 143-214.7B and 15A NCAC 02H .1043 and .1044. Prescribes membership of the working group. Directs DEQ to report to the specified NCGA committee by December 31, 2022.
Changes the act's titles.
Summary date: Mar 16 2021 - View Summary
House committee substitute amends the 1st edition by making a technical correction to internal cross-references in GS 62-133.12(g), concerning the proposed exemption for unreimbursed costs for relocating facilities due to roadway projects from the 7.5% limitation imposed on cumulative system improvement charges based upon annual service revenues.
Summary date: Mar 3 2021 - View Summary
Enacts GS 62-133.1B, authorizing the Utilities Commission (Commission) to approve a water or sewer facility's Water and Sewer Investment Plan (Plan) upon application by the facility in a general rate proceeding if the Commission finds the plan results in rates that are just and reasonable and are in the public interest. Defines Plan to mean a plan under which the Commission sets water or sewer base rates, revenue requirements through banding authorized returns, and authorizes annual rate changes for a three-year period based on reasonable known or measurable capital investments and anticipated reasonable and prudent expenses approved under the plan without need for a base rate proceeding during the plan period. Requires a facility's filed Plan to include performance-based metrics that benefit customers and ensure the provision of safe, reliable, and cost-effective service. Details required considerations of the Commission in reviewing a Plan application, and authorizes the Commission to impose any conditions in the implementation of the Plan as specified.
Prohibits any rate adjustment allowed under an approved Plan from exceeding 5% of the utility's North Carolina retail jurisdictional gross revenues for the preceding plan year for years two and three of the plan. Provides for petitioning the Commission to consider the addition of unplanned emergency capital investments during a plan term.
Requires rate adjustment mechanisms authorized under GS 62-133.12 (concerning investments) and GS 62-133.12A (concerning usage tracking) to be discontinued during the term of any Plan, though allows for filing for an adjustment under GS 62-133.12 to become effective after the Plan term.
Provides for the Commission's ruling on a Plan after proper notice and hearing and effectiveness of the Plan. Authorizes the Commission to modify or terminate an approved Plan after an opportunity for hearing at any time for good cause shown.
Requires the Commission to establish banding of authorized returns, as defined, on equity for approved Plans, with a utility required to refund or credit earnings, or permitted to file a general rate case, based on the range established.
Requires the Commission to annually review a utility's earnings as provided.
Directs the Commission to adopt implementing rules, including rules to establish filing procedures, annual reporting and review, and development of bandings of authorized returns. Requires adoption no later than 120 days after the date the act becomes law.
Makes the above provisions applicable to any rate-making mechanisms, designs, plans, or settlements filed by a water or sewer utility on or after the date that the Commission's implementing rules become effective.
Makes conforming changes to GS 62-133.1.
Amends GS 62-133.12, which governs the approval of rate adjustment mechanisms based on a utility's investment in eligible water and sewer system improvements. Modifies the definition given for the term eligible water system improvements to include hydro tanks and pumping equipment installed as replacements; equipment and infrastructure installed at the Commission's direction to comply with federal, State, or local health or environmental standards; and unreimbursed costs of relocating facilities due to roadway, rather than highway, costs. Modifies the definition given for the term eligible sewer system improvements to include unreimbursed costs of relocating facilities due to roadway, rather than highway construction or relocation, costs; and replacement or improvement of force mains, gravity mains, service lines, pumps, motors, blowers, and other electrical or mechanical equipment (was pumps, motors, blowers, and other mechanical equipment installed as replacements for customers); no longer includes improvements necessary to reduce inflow and infiltration to the collection system to comply with applicable State and federal law and regulations. Increases the cap for cumulative system improvement charges for a utility under a rate adjustment mechanism approved under the statute from 5% to 7.5%. Adds that unreimbursed costs of relocating facilities due to roadway projects are exempt from the cap. Now requires accumulated depreciation for eligible water or sewer system improvements to be updated in each filing submitted by a utility within the same docket.