Bill Summary for S 605 (2021-2022)

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Summary date: 

May 4 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 605 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Intro. by B. Jackson, Sanderson, Edwards.

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Bill summary

Senate committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.

Section 7

Further amends GS 106-897 to also include GS 14-140.1 (regarding certain fires required to be guarded by watchmen) within the scope of forest laws. Makes further technical changes. 

Section 10

Deletes the proposed changes to GS 143-135.26, concerning the State Building Commission's powers, and proposed GS 106-22.8, setting out four specified actions the Board of Agriculture must take with respect to the design, construction, or renovation of buildings, utilities, and other property developments of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) requiring the estimated expenditure of public funds of $2 million or less.

Adds new content to the section, amending the definition given for employment in GS 97-2(1) applicable to the Workers' Compensation Act, to define agriculture by statutory cross-reference. 

Section 11

Revises the proposed changes to GS 143-215.10C, requiring the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to develop a general permit for animal operations that includes authorizing the permittee to construct and operate a farm digester system. Now defines farm digester system under GS 143-213 as a system, including all lagoon covers as well as associated equipment, by which gases are collected and processed from an animal waste management system for the digestion of animal biomass for use as a renewable energy resource; no longer sets out items that may also be included in the term; specifies that the system is considered to be a part of an "animal waste management system." Amends the new term renewable animal biomass energy resource to no longer include an animal biomass gas facility. No longer adds animal biomass gas facility as a defined term. Explicitly includes an animal waste management system that uses a farm digester system in the EMC's authority to require that an animal waste management system be permitted under an individual permit. Adds that after the general permit for animal operations that includes authorization for the permittee to construct and operate a farm digester system has been issued, the decision to require an individual permit cannot be based solely on the fact that the animal waste management system uses a farm digester system. Adds a new subsection (c1) to GS 143-215.10C, deeming failure of the EMC to make a final permitting decision involving a notice of intent for a certificate of coverage under a general permit for animal operations that includes authorization for the permittee to construct and operate a farm digester system within 90 days of the EMC's receipt of a completed notice of intent, approval of coverage under the permit. Allows the permittee to request that the EMC provide written confirmation that the notice of intent is deemed approved, with failure to provide written confirmation within 10 days of receipt of the request to serve as a basis to seek a contested case hearing. Requires an administrative law judge to issue a final decision or order within 120 days after commencement, with up to two extensions of up to 30 days for good cause as specified, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by all parties to the case. Requires the administrative law judge to direct the EMC to either issue a written certificate of coverage under the general permit or deny the petition. 

Changes the definitions set forth for certificate of coverage, changing the administrative rule referenced, and notice of intent, now defined as a request for coverage under a general permit using forms approved by the Division of Water Resources, as those terms are used in Section 11. 

Requires the general permit for animal operations to include, in addition to conditions required to describe and authorize the construction, monitoring and proper operation of farm digester systems (was construction only), the same conditions that are included in the currently existing general permits for animal operations; no longer specifies exceptions. Requires the general permit to become effective no later than 12 months (was six months) after this section's effective date, and adds that the general permit expires on the later of September 20, 2024, or the effective of the next version of the currently existing general permit for animal operations. Regarding a notice of intent submitted by the operator of any animal operation that holds a general or individual permit that does not authorize the construction and operation of a farm digester system, adds a new requirement for EMC to notify an applicant of a deficiency in the notice. Revises the procedures for notices of intent to refer to completed notices of intent. Regarding denial of the certificate of coverage, no longer explicitly requires denial be based on a substantial deviation from the applicable requirements to receive the certificate of coverage. No longer requires the EMC to issue confirmation of approval resulting from EMC's failure to take action on a notice of intent within the specified period. No longer provides for the solicitation of public comment in acting on a notice of intent. Adds a new provision excluding from the scope of Section 11 permits for facilities required to be permitted under 40 C.F.R., section 122.

Modifies proposed GS 106-806(e), which allows for the construction or renovation of a farm digester system that is a component of a preexisting swine farm so long as the specified requirements are met. Adds that the construction or renovation of the farm digester system must comply with the siting requirements set out in GS 106-803 to the maximum extent possible. 

Eliminates the proposed changes to GS 150B-34 and GS 150B-44 regarding general permits for animal operations that includes authorization for the permittee to construct and operate a farm digester system.

Eliminates the proposed changes to GS 105-275 that no longer limited the animal waste management systems that are excluded from tax to those that accomplish specified objectives. 

Section 13

Amends GS 95-242 to no longer require the Commissioner of Labor to issue a right to sue letter that enables an employee to bring a civil action under GS 95-243 upon determining there is no reasonable cause to believe a complaint alleging that the employer discriminated or retaliated against the employee for engaging in the protected activities of GS 95-241, in violation of GS 95-241, is true.