Tell Your Representatives to VOTE NO on Regulatory Reform Act of 2023
The Regulatory Reform Act of 2023, will be moving back to the House and Senate for a vote in the coming days with several amendments. This bill poses major concerns for North Carolinians. This bill weakens permits to allow pipeline projects to move forward with little public opposition, and would expedite development on sites contaminated by toxins.
This bill also aims to expedite 401 permitting processes. This amendment is aimed at an unnecessary pipeline project in North Carolina, the Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate extension. In 2020, this project was denied by NC DEQ due to the permanent destructive impacts the project would have on environmental resources and communities as a whole. Alamance County Commissioners unanimously signed a resolution to oppose the project in 2018.
This bill would limit the amount of time for NCDEQ to review and make a determination on a 401 permit, giving the public less time to assess the impacts and provide thoughtful input on a project that would subject them to eminent domain cases. Worse yet, the permit would be deemed complete and granted if NCDEQ fails to meet a 30 day deadline, which would negate any opportunity for input by impacted communities and local governments.
The bill would also limit NCDEQ's review to exclusively evaluate the project based on the potential to violate existing water quality standards. This clause intentionally excludes cumulative impacts and environmental justice analyses, which is unconstitutional under Title VI laws of the Clean Water Act.
Beyond the MVP Southgate project, these reforms to the 401 permitting process would have statewide implications for all major projects. These permit processes are put in place to protect not only our environmental resources, but our communities who depend on them.