AN ACT TO ENACT THE COMPOST PROCUREMENT AND USE ACT.
Enacts new Article 8D, Compost Procurement and Use by State Agencies and Local Governments, to GS Chapter 143. Sets forth five defined terms and four legislative findings.
Establishes requirements for State agencies and local governments planning a construction or infrastructure project using State funds that includes a landscaping component. Requires inclusion of compost and compost products where possible in the bid specifications or contract to replace the use of topsoil or reduce the need for nutrient supplementation for landscape plantings. Requires the use of compost or compost products when they meet the applicable contract specifications and other applicable health and safety standards and are comparable in price to the materials the compost or compost products will replace; provides three exceptions. Requires compliance with pest control rules adopted by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) prior to transportation or application of compost. Requires priority be given to purchasing certified compost or compost products from companies located in the State.
Requires local governments administering a composting program for residential yard and food scraps collected by the local government to enter into a purchasing agreement with its compost processor to buy back finished compost products for use in governmental projects, on government land, or by local residents on local property in the jurisdiction. Encourages the local government to incorporate compost in all soil project specifications. Authorizes local governments to enter into collective purchasing agreements if doing so is more cost effective or efficient.
Establishes the Compost Reimbursement Pilot Program (program) within DACS to provide grants during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 fiscal years. Authorizes one time-limited position for administration. Allows for farming operations, as defined, to be reviewed by DACS for eligibility to apply for cost reimbursement for the purchase and use of compost or compost products, including transportation equipment, soil, testing and labor costs. Provides for application requirements. Restricts farming operations to one application per year for purchased made and usage costs incurred during the fiscal year. Limits reimbursements to the lesser of 50% of eligible costs, as defined, or $10,000. Prohibits reimbursement in three specified situations, including for compost or compost products produced by the farming operation. Requires DACS to prioritize small farming operations as measured by acreage in awarding reimbursement. Requires recipients to indemnify the State and its officers, agents, and employees from all claims arising out of or resulting from the compost products purchased that are reimbursed under the act. Directs DACS to annually report to the specified NCGA committee each fiscal year in which reimbursements are provided. Specifies required content of reports. Appropriates $100,000 from the General Fund to DACS for 2021-22 for the program. Effective July 1, 2021, and expires June 30, 2025.
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