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  • Summary date: Apr 20 2023 - View Summary

    Creates new GS 143B-279.18 (Consideration of cumulative impacts required for permitting of facilities proposed to be located in burdened communities), which prohibits the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) from issuing a permit for a new or expanded facility in a burdened community (a census tract that is ranked in the bottom 33% of the census tracts in the State for median annual household income) unless the requirements of the new statute are met. Requires an applicant for a permit in a burdened community to (1) prepare a report assessing the impact of the new facility or expanded facility on the community, (2) send the report to DEQ, the board of the local government, and the designated representative for the community at least 30 days before the public hearing, and (3) organize a public hearing at a location convenient to the burdened community and provide public notice as specified in the statute. Requires DEQ or EMC, as applicable, to wait 60 days after the public hearing before issuing a permit, and permits DEQ or EMC to deny the permit if it would constitute an unreasonable risk to the health of the residents or the environment of the burdened community. Requires DEQ or EMC to consider community support or lack thereof when deciding to approve the permit. Allows an applicant for multiple permits to comply with the statute one time, unless DEQ or EMC determines in its discretion that more than one public hearing is necessary due to the nature of the facility or expansion of existing facilities. Provides definitions applicable to the section. Effective and applicable to applications for permits submitted on or after January 1, 2024.

    Requires DEQ to adopt rules implementing the new GS 143B-279.18 within 180 days of the effective date of the act, and to identify each burdened community in the State. Requires each unit of local government within a burdened community to identify a representative within 60 days after being identified by DEQ. 

    Amends GS 62-110.1 to add new subsection (d1), requiring the North Carolina Utilities Commission to coordinate with DEQ to consider the impact on any burdened community when acting on a certificate application for a facility generating over 10 megawatts of electricity, or the expansion of a facility that size. Permits the Utilities Commission to deny the certificate if the cumulative impacts constitute an unreasonable risk to the health of the residents or the environment of the burdened community. Provides definitions applicable to the subsection. Effective and applicable to application certificates submitted on or after January 1, 2024.