AN ACT TO PROVIDE REGULATORY RELIEF TO THE AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY OF NORTH CAROLINA BY PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS TRANSPORTATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL REFORMS AND BY MAKING VARIOUS OTHER STATUTORY CHANGES.
House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 5th edition.
Amends GS 106-26.3, deleting language that provided that advancing social goals was part of the reason for supporting and promoting sustainable agriculture.
Amends the effective date for proposed changes to GS 20-118(c)(12), concerning specified road weight limitation exceptions for vehicles, providing that the changes now become effective October 1, 2015 (was, July 1, 2015).
Amends GS 113-202(b), concerning shellfish cultivation leases, making clarifying changes and providing that the proposed changes become effective October 1, 2015 (was, July 1, 2015).
Amends proposed GS 121-39A, concerning the termination of conservation agreements, to provide that for conservation agreements where at least one party to the agreement is a public body of the state, no request for termination or substantial modification will be approved for the purposes of economic development (previously, termination or modification was not approved when conservation agreements were subject to the approval of the Council of State for termination or substantial modification). Effective when the act becomes law, applying to conservation agreements that are executed on or after that date.
Deletes proposed changes to GS 106-744(b), concerning agricultural conservation easements, which deleted language that provided an exception to the perpetual duration of an agricultural conservation easement after at least 20 years. Now amends GS 106-744(c1) to require the Commissioner of Agriculture to distribute funds from the NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) for the purchase of agricultural conservation easements or agreements to be held by the department. Makes all of Section 13 effective when it becomes law (was, July 1, 2015).
Amends GS 106-549.97 concerning regulations regarding farmed cervids, amending the definition of farmed cervid to include an animal registered or tagged in a licensed captive cervid facility existing as of October 1, 2015 (was, July 1, 2015). Directs the Codifier of Rules to retain specified amendments in effect until such can be replaced by permanent rules adopted by the Department of Agriculture.
Amends GS 113-272.6, which authorizes the Wildlife Resource Commission (WRC) to regulate the possession and transportation of non-farmed cervids, deleting language that required the commission to follow the USDA Standards as defined in GS 106-549.97 and additional provisions set out in federal regulations, and prohibited the Commission from adopting any rule or standard that was more restrictive than the USDA Standards.
Adds an effective date for proposed changes to GS 106-950 concerning fires that are exempt from open fire regulations, providing that changes are effective January 1, 2015.
Amends GS 62-133.8, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), specifically subsection (e) concerning meeting the REPS requirement though the use of swine waste resources, to restrict electric public utilities with more than 150,000 NC retail jurisdictional customers as of December 31, 2006, from meeting more than 25% of the annual REPS requirement by both (1) purchasing renewable energy certificates from out-of-state new renewable energy facilities and (2) generating electric power from swine waste derived biogas produced out of state. Sets out aggregate amounts of swine waste resources to be used by electric power suppliers beginning in 2018 at 0.07% and culminating in 2024 at 0.20% (was, beginning in 2012 and culminating in 2018). Provides that the NC Utilities Commission can continue to use its authority to modify or delay the above provisions if it is determined it is in the public interest to do so.
Amends the "Odor Control of Feed Ingredient Manufacturing Plants Rule" found in 15A NCAC 02D .0539 to provide that raw material will be considered in storage after it has been unloaded or located at a facility for at least 36 hours. Also sets out new regulations concerning timelines for unloading vehicles or containers holding raw material such as feathers with trace amounts of blood and used cooking oil. Requires the Environmental Management Commission to enact the temporary rules until permanent rules substantially similar to these provisions can be adopted.
Amends GS 113A-52.01, concerning the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act, adding language that exempts specified wetlands restoration activities undertaken to provide compensatory mitigation for the offset of impacts permitted under the Clean Water Act. Also exempts specified wetlands restoration activities undertaken pursuant to the Natural Resources Conservation Service standards.
Allows persons interested in participating in the pilot American Eel Aquaculture Plan to submit required information until November 1, 2015 (was, September 1).
Adjusts the amendments to GS 18B-902(d) and 18B-1001, setting fees and providing for Alcoholic Beverage Control permits, to (1) set the cost of an on-premises unfortified wine permit at $100 if the application is for a farm winery (was, $400 for all on-premises unfortified wine permits) and (2) eliminate the separate category for “farm winery on-premises unfortified wine permit.” Adds a sentence to GS 18B-1103A clarifying that a winery with both a farm winery permit and an unfortified winery permit may not sell wine for on- or off-premises consumption at more than three other locations.
Adds new amendments to GS 143-449 (pesticide dealers), GS 143-453 (pesticide applicators), and GS 143-455 (pest control consultants) clarifying the authority of the Pesticide Board, as part of its re-licensing powers, to require continuing certification credits.
Adds a sentence to GS 143B-437.020 stating that a project intended for the purpose of commercial resale of natural gas or propane gas is not eligible for the Expanded Gas Products Service to Agriculture Fund.
Amends GS 106-140.1 to allow the DACS to register outsourcing facilities, defined as manufacturers engaged in compounding sterile drugs and registered as such with the Food and Drug Administration.
Creates two exemptions during times when the State Veterinarian, in consultation with the Commissioner of Agriculture and with the approval of the Governor, determines that there is an imminent threat of a contagious animal disease. First, the committee substitute amends GS 106-399.4(a) to allow emergency measures relating to composting dead domesticated animals without individual permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Second, creates new subsection GS 143-215.10C to allow the State Veterinarian to temporarily suspend periodic testing of waste products, as required by that section, from specific animal types.
Amends GS 143-138(b4) to include in the definition of farm building, for purposes of exclusion from certain building rules, any unoccupied structure on land owned by the state of North Carolina and administratively allocated to DACS or North Carolina State University and used primarily for forestry or agriculture production and research. Makes organizational changes.
Makes clarifying changes to GS 113-136(k) regarding the authority of law enforcement officers, protectors, and inspectors to inspect weapons, equipment, fish, or wildlife. Makes it unlawful to refuse to allow law enforcement officers, protectors, and inspectors to inspect weapons or equipment if the enforcement official reasonably believes the items are possessed incident to an activity that is regulated by law or has a reasonable suspicion that a violation has been committed. Provides an exception permitting an officer to inspect a shotgun without a reasonable suspicion that a violation has been committed in order to confirm whether the shotgun is plugged or unplugged. Clarifies that it is unlawful to refuse to permit law enforcement officers, protectors, and inspectors to inspect fish or wildlife for the purpose of determining compliance with bag limits and size limits. Specifies that except as authorized by GS 113-137, this section does not confer authority on law enforcement officers, protectors, and inspectors to inspect the following items in the absences of an individual in apparent control of the item to be inspected: (1) weapons; (2) equipment, except that left unattended in the normal operation of equipment, including but not limited to traps, trot lines, crab pots, and fox pens; (3) fish; and (4) wildlife. Requires the Wildlife Resources Commission to report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety annually, beginning with a report due on March 1, 2016, on complaints against Commission law enforcement officers.
Replaces the Department of Environmental Quality with the DACS in GS 14-137, pertaining to willful and negligent setting fire to woods and fields.
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