AN ACT TO PROVIDE REGULATORY RELIEF TO THE CITIZENS OF NORTH CAROLINA BY CREATING A FAST TRACK PERMITTING PROCESS FOR CERTAIN ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS; BY CLARIFYING THE PREEMPTION OF CITY ORDINANCES AND CLARIFYING THAT SIMILAR RULES APPLY TO COUNTY ORDINANCES; BY CLARIFYING THE LAWS RELATING TO GROUNDWATER COMPLIANCE BOUNDARIES; BY EXTENDING THE TERMS OF CERTAIN ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS; BY CLARIFYING THAT THE DEFINITON OF 'BUILT-UPON AREA' INCLUDES ONLY IMPERVIOUS SURFACES; BY AMENDING THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE ACT TO ELIMINATE THE REQUIREMENT THAT AN AGENCY PREPARE A FISCAL NOTE WHEN REPEALING A RULE; BY REQUIRING THE REPEAL OR REVISION OF EXISTING ENVIRONMENTAL RULES MORE RESTRICTIVE THAN FEDERAL RULES PERTAINING TO THE SAME SUBJECT MATTER; BY ALLOWING MUNICIPALITIES TO LEASE REAL PROPERTY FOR A TERM OF UP TO TWENTY FIVE YEARS TO PRIVATE COMPANIES CONSTRUCTING RENEWABLE ENERGY FACILITIES; BY ALLOWING GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE LICENSES TO BE ISSUED BY ANY MUNICIPAL OFFICIAL DESIGNATED BY THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE MUNICIPALITY; BY DIRECTING THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES AND THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO JOINTLY PETITION THE WILMINGTON DISTRICT OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS TO ALLOW FOR GREATER FLEXIBILITY AND OPPORTUNITY TO PERFORM WETLANDS MITIGATION BEYOND THE IMMEDIATE WATERSHED WHERE DEVELOPMENT WILL OCCUR; BY CLARIFYING THAT THE DEFINITION OF 'BUILT-UPON AREA' INCLUDES ONLY IMPERVIOUS SURFACES; AND BY REQUIRING MEMBERS OF ADVISORY BODIES TO STATE AGENCIES AND BOARDS TO DISCLOSE POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST PRIOR TO MAKING ANY RECOMMENDATION.
Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.
Changes the long title.
Part I, Fast Track Permitting for Certain Environmental Permits
Adds new Section 1.1(c), directing DENR to specify the types of licensed professionals who are qualified to certify various design criteria. Provides examples of "licensed professionals" and establishes the meaning of qualified to certify.
Makes technical changes to Section 1.2 and establishes that DENR must submit its final Minimum Design Criteria to the Environmental Review Commission no later than March 1, 2014 (previously, only stated that DENR's recommendations were to be submitted by that date).
Amends GS 113A-68, Fast-track plan approval, included in Section 1.4 of the act, providing that the fast-track permitting process would not include a technical review if the applicant (1) complies with the specified Minimum Design Criteria and (2) submits an application sealed by a specified appropriate professional (was, sealed by an engineer). Also allows, but no longer requires, consulting with a technical working group.
Section 1.5(a) provides that the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) must adopt temporary rules that implement Section 1.3 of the act no later than May 1, 2014 (previously, provided that rules must be adopted no later than February 1, 2014).
Section 1.5(b) provides that the Sedimentation Control Commission (SCC) must adopt temporary rules that implement Section 1.4 of the act no later than May 1, 2014 (previously, provided that rules must be adopted no later than February 1, 2014).
Section 1.6 of the act now amends GS 89C-19, Public works; requirements where public safety involved, prohibiting the state and any of its political subdivisions, in the course of conducting a technical review, from requiring revisions to the parts of an application or plan that constitutes the practice of engineering and has been supervised and sealed by a professional engineer, unless the employee or official requesting the revision is also a professional engineer or an engineering intern with the appropriate supervision. Such approved revisions must be provided by written notice, on agency letterhead, signed by the professional engineer reviewing the submission, including his state license number, and then provided to the permit applicants or the person that submitted the plan for approval.
Part II, Clarify Local Government Preemption
Amends GS 160A-174(b)(5a) and GS 153A-121(a1)(6), providing that an ordinance is not consistent with state or federal law when it (1) regulates a field that is also regulated by state or federal statutes enforced by, or a regulation promulgated by, an environmental agency and (2) is more stringent than the state or federal statute or regulation.
Enacts new GS 160A-174(c) and GS 153A-121(a2), providing that the limitation set out above does not apply to ordinances of cities, towns, or counties if they are or continue to be required by one of the following: (1) a serious and unforeseen threat to the public health, safety, or welfare; (2) an act of the General Assembly or U.S. Congress; (3) a provision in federal or state budget policy; (4) a federal regulation adopted or administered by the state; or (5) a court order.
Enacts new GS 160A-174(d) and GS 153A-121(a3), specifying which agencies are considered environmental agencies, for the purposes of promulgating state and federal regulations as they apply to ordinances that are not consistent with regulations.
Part III, Environmental Regulatory Reform
Deletes changes made to GS 130A-309.09B (Local government waste reduction programs) and GS 130A-294 (Solid waste management program) as provided for in the previous edition of this act.
Amends GS 130A-294(a)(4)a, which directs DENR to develop a permit system for solid waster management facilities, providing that demolition debris from the decommissioning of manufacturing buildings, that is disposed of on the same site as the decommissioned building is exempt from the permit requirement provided in this section and instead is governed pursuant to the regulations in GS 130A-301.3.
Enacts new GS 130A-301.3 (Disposal of demolition debris generated from the decommissioning of manufacturing buildings, including electric generating stations, on site), providing the regulations and specifications for the disposal of demolition debris from the specified buildings on site, which include requiring debris to meet five specifications, including, but not limited to (1) the debris is composed of only inert debris and cannot be characterized as a hazardous waste, and (2) the debris is placed at least 500 feet from the nearest drinking water well. Provides further requirements for the owner or operator after the decommissioning is completed or terminated, such as requiring the debris to be covered with at least two feet of compacted earth and the cover is graded in a specified manner to minimize future negative environmental effects. Also provides certain time-sensitive surveying and recording requirements for the site where the disposal occurred. Requires copies of specified notices to be filed with DENR and the deed of the land to contain provisions alerting future interested parties that the property has been used for the disposal of demolition debris. Makes conforming changes to GS 47-29.
Amends GS 143-215.1 (Control of sources of water pollution; permits required), making clarifying changes and providing that individuals required to obtain a permit for a disposal system must also have a compliance boundary established; the compliance boundary will be located at the property boundary except as otherwise provided for by the EMC. Also requires that a groundwater violation "at or beyond the compliance boundary" (was, "outside the compliance boundary") be remedied as directed by the EMC.
Part IV, No Fiscal Note for Rule Repeal (New)
Previously, Part IV was titled Clarify Master Meter Prohibition to Permit an All-inclusive Lease. This section has been deleted by the committee substitute.
Creates new GS 150B-21.4(d), establishing that, in regards to the regulations governing the requirement of fiscal notes in the administrative rule-making process, an agency is not required to prepare a fiscal note on a proposed rule change if the proposal is for the repeal of an existing rule.
Part V, Exempt Certain Properties From Riparian Buffer Rules
Amends GS 143-214.18 (Exemption to riparian buffer requirements for certain private properties in the Neuse River and Tar-Pamlico River Basin), making a clarifying change providing that the temporary rules adopted January 1, 2000, and the permanent rule adopted August 1, 2000, regarding the protection and maintenance of existing riparian buffers in the Tar-Pamlico Basin, do not apply to tracts of land that meet specified criteria. Amends the criteria for exemption from the rules to no longer require that the property be platted before August 1, 2000.
Part VI, Reform of Existing Rules (New)
Previously, Part VI was titled Expanded RRC Authority. This section has been deleted by the committee substitute.
Provides the definition of an agency authorized to implement and enforce State and federal environmental law for the purposes of this section. Requires such agencies to identify all existing rules for the protection of the environment or natural resources that are stricter than a corresponding federal law or rule. Also requires the same agencies to initiate rulemaking proceedings by September 1, 2013, to either repeal the rules or to rewrite the identified rules to make them no more restrictive than the corresponding federal laws or rules. Exempts the rules adopted pursuant to this subsection from the Administrative Procedure Act. Establishes that the requirements of this section do not apply to a rule if it was and continues to be required by either (1) a serious and unforeseen threat to the public health, safety, or welfare; (2) an act of the General Assembly or U.S. Congress; (3) a provision in federal or state budget policy; (4) a federal regulation adopted or administered by the state; or (5) a court order.
Part VII, Permit Longer Alternative Energy Leasing Periods (New)
Amends GS 160A-272 (Lease or rental of property), allowing all cities to lease city-owned property for the siting and operation of a renewable energy facility for up to 25 years (previously, only certain cities were allowed to lease land for the operation of such a facility and then only for 20 years).
Part VIII, Going out of Business Sale Licensing Flexibility (New)
Amends GS 66-77 (License required; contents of applications; inventory required; fees; bonds; extension of licenses; records; false statements), providing that businesses required to obtain a permit to conduct a going-out-of-business sale must obtain that permit from an officer designated by the governing board of the city or town where such a sale is to be conducted (previously, businesses were required to obtain the permits from the clerk of the city/town or, if an unincorporated area, from the clerk. Makes conforming changes.
Part IX, Wetlands and Stream Mitigation HUC Flexibility (New)
Directs DENR and the Department of Transportation (DOT), no later than October 1, 2013, to petition the Wilmington District of Army Corps of Engineers for greater flexibility and opportunity to perform wetlands and stream mitigation outside the eight-digit HUC. The departments will jointly report on the progress of their petition to the Environmental Review Commission no later than January 1, 2014.
Part X, Ethics/Advisory Boards (New)
Enacts new GS 138A-15 (Duties of heads of State agencies), directing the heads of state agencies and chairs of boards subject to GS Chapter 138A to require members of any advisory board to disclose any reasonably foreseeable financial benefits that may be received pursuant to the matter under recommendation when it can be inferred that the potential benefit could influence the participation of the member or impair the member's independent judgment. Also requires the members of any advisory board to provide a list of all grants awarded or employment held during the 24 months immediately before the recommendation.
Part XI, Severability and Effective Date Provisions
Provides that Sections 3.1 and 10 of this act become effective July 1, 2013. Section 4.1 of the act applies to all proposed rules published in the North Carolina Register on or after the date the act becomes law.
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