Bill Summaries: S681 POLLUTER PAYS.

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  • Summary date: Apr 6 2023 - View Summary

    Amends GS 143-215.3, which establishes the general and auxiliary powers of the Environmental Management Commission (Commission) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Authorizes the Secretary of DEQ (Secretary) to order persons causing or contributing to water or air pollution that is causing danger to the health or safety of the public, revealed by an investigation pursuant to Article 21 (Water and Air Resources) or Article 21B (Air Pollution Control) of GS Chapter 143, to immediately reduce or discontinue the emission or discharge, or take other necessary measures or omissions, within a period of time specified at the discretion of the Secretary. Permits the Secretary to order the person to provide alternate water supplies or to establish a permanent replacement water supply to persons with water supplies damaged by the water or air pollution in question at the discretion of the Secretary. Specifies that the establishment of a permanent replacement water supply must be by connection to a public water supply, unless an affected household opts for a whole house filtration system that the responsible person will be required to install and maintain. Additionally, the Secretary is authorized to assess the person causing or contributing to the pollution in question for any actual and necessary costs incurred by the State in removing, correcting, or abating any adverse effects upon the water or air resulting from the pollution for which the person is responsible. Authorizes the Secretary to file a civil action in superior court in the county where the pollution in question occurred or where the person resides or has its principal place of business to recover sums assessed if a person refuses or fails to pay within a reasonable time. 

    Amends GS 143-215.2, which authorizes the Commission to issue a special order or other instrument to any person responsible for causing or contributing to any pollution of state waters within an area for which standards have been adopted pursuant to GS 143-214.1 or GS 143-215. Adds to the Commission's authority to issue special orders by specifying that a special order can include a requirement that the responsible person provide temporary alternate or permanent replacement water supplies to persons with supplies damaged by the water pollution in question. 

    Appropriates $75,000 from the General Fund to DEQ for 2023-24 to implement the act. Effective July 1, 2023.

    Exempts the act from the provisions of GS 143C-5-2, concerning the order of appropriations bills.