AMEND MITIGATION SERVICES LAW.

View NCGA Bill Details2017-2018 Session
House Bill 632 (Public) Filed Thursday, April 6, 2017
AN ACT TO AMEND LAWS RELATED TO THE PROVISION OF MITIGATION SERVICES.
Intro. by Torbett, Lewis, McGrady.

Status: Ref To Com On Rules and Operations of the Senate (Senate Action) (Apr 25 2017)
H 632

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Apr 7 2017 - More information

    Section 1

    Amends GS 143-214.9, concerning the purposes of the Division of Mitigation Services (Division) of the Department of Environmental Quality, to add a new purpose for the Division to prioritize cost-effective approaches to compliance with mitigation requirements that maximize the remaining productive uses of public and private lands consistent with the other purposes listed in the statute. Makes technical conforming change.

    Amends GS 143-214.12 (Division of Mitigation Services; Ecosystem Restoration Fund) to limit the expenditure of funds from the Ecosystem Restoration Fund (Fund) to purposes directly contributing to the acquisition, perpetual maintenance, enhancement, restoration, or creation of wetlands, streams, and riparian areas (currently, does not include streams) in accordance with the basinwide plan as described in GS 143-214.10.

    Subsection (a1) of GS 143-214.12 permits the Department of Environmental Quality (Department) to distribute funds from the Fund directly to a federal or State agency, a local government, or a private nonprofit conservation organization to acquire, manage, and maintain real property or an interest in real property. Modifies subsection (a1) to allow a recipient of funds under subsection (a1) that acquires a conservation easement or interest in real property appurtenant to a restoration project delivered to the Division of Mitigation Services to transfer the conservation easement or interest in real property to a federal or State agency, a local government, or a private nonprofit conservation organization approved by the Division. Deletes previous language that required a recipient of funds under subsection (a1) to grant a conservation easement in real property or interest in real property acquired with the funds to the Department in a form acceptable by the Department.  Authorizes the Department to convey real property or an interest in real property that has been acquired under the Division of Mitigation Services to a federal or State agency, a local government, or a private, nonprofit conservation organization approved by the Division (currently not required to be approved by the Division) to acquire, manage, and maintain real property or an interest in real property for the purposes set out in subsection (a). Establishes that when a grantee of real property or an interest in real property under subsection (a) grants a conservation easement in the real property or interest in real property to a federal or State agency, a local government, or a private nonprofit conservation organization approved by the Division, the grant must be made in a form that is acceptable to the Department.

    Section 2

    Enacts GS 143-214.7D, permitting land within a riparian buffer required to be maintained under a State or local permit or other regulatory approval, in which neither the State or its subdivisions holds any property interest, to be used by a property owner to satisfy any other development-related regulatory requirements based on property size except as otherwise required by federal law. Provides that the development-related regulatory requirements include but are not limited to, stormwater best management practices, residential density, and nonresidential intensity calculations and yields, tree conservation purposes, open space or conservation area requirements, setbacks, perimeter buffers, and lot area requirements. 

    Section 3

    Directs the Division to revise its mitigation services programs to focus its efforts on the preservation, enhancement, and restoration of ecological functions rather than on the spatial proximity of mitigation projects. Directs the Environment Management Commission, with the assistance of the Division, to review and revise the nutrient offset fee for the Jordan Lake Watershed to establish fees for the different sub-watersheds within the Jordan Lake Watershed that reflect the actual costs of performing the mitigation in the sub-watersheds. Also directs the Division to calculate wetland mitigation fees by multiplying the relevant rates by the number of credits being purchased and to calculate stream mitigation fees by multiplying the relevant rates by the number of whole credits being purchased. Requires the Environmental Management Commission to amend its rules consistent with these provisions.

    Section 4

    Directs the Department of Transportation (DOT) to annually report by February 1 to the Environmental Review Commission regarding implementation of the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between the Department and DOT establishing procedures for the provision of compensatory mitigation by the Division to offset impacts to waters and wetlands from DOT's activities. Details the required components of the report. Expires March 1, 2020.

    Section 5

    Directs the Division to review and revise its bidding and contracting procedures for procurement of mitigation services. Requires the procedures to include: (1) bonding or other financial surety required for the construction of a mitigation project to reflect only the minimum amount necessary to secure State funds provided through a contract between the Division and a private mitigation provider and (2) post‑construction bonding periods and amounts to reflect the minimum length of time necessary to determine with a reasonable degree of certainty project success and the reasonably determined level of financial risk to the State from total or partial failure of the mitigation project. Directs the Division to report to the Environmental Review Commission regarding this required review and revision by December 1, 2017. Sets out required content of the report.

    Section 6

    Directs the Department of Administration to develop an inventory of all State‑owned properties, determine which State‑owned properties would be appropriate for compensatory mitigation to satisfy the compensatory mitigation required of State agencies, and determine whether the stewardship and maintenance of certain State‑owned properties would be more efficiently and effectively administered by private nonprofit organizations such as conservation land trusts. Requires other State agencies, specifically DOT and the Department of Environmental Quality, to assist the Department of Administration in the implementation of this provision. Directs the Department of Administration to submit the results of implementing this provision to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations and the Environmental Review Commission no later than February 1, 2017.


Printer-friendly: Click to view