House Bill 56 and Senate Bill 434 (Buffer Repeal)
Latest update from Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation As of July 18
H56/S434 (Buffer Repeal) — S434 stalled, and while much of its language was put into H56, none of that language repeals the buffer. We’re hesitant to declare that both the Catawba and local municipal buffers were saved. Different versions were passed by the House and Senate, so they would have to agree on a common version to send to the governor.
Update from our newsletter in June
We are asking our members and supporters to again contact NC legislators to oppose proposed legislation (old and new) that will harm water quality.
This is an update regarding S434 and related legislation H56 in Raleigh. Both have implications for stream and shoreline buffers that protect our water quality.
LJEA’s and the Riverkeeper’s May 1st announcement explained how N.C. Senate (now House) Bill 434 (“Amend Environmental Laws 2”) called for the repeal of important shoreline buffers that protect Lake James, the Catawba River mainstem, and other lakes in the chain. Your diligent assistance in explaining the destructive nature of the bill to your senators and representatives, kept it in committee while debate continues.
However, the Senate has now inserted language from S434 into H56 (which was previously passed by the House), as a way to move things along. If the Senate passes this bill with just a language change, it will only need to go to a small “conference committee” to find common ground so that both houses can vote on it again.
From the perspective of the Lake James watershed, the H56 language is a significant improvement over S434. However, as the Riverkeeper points out, language around construction of walking trails in buffers is already well-defined in (15A NCAC 02B .0243) and should be omitted from H56. Also, adding buffer protection for Catawba River tributaries would be very beneficial for water quality, too.
Below is the Riverkeeper’s update on this matter. Please check it out and again contact your senator and representative to appeal for common sense in protecting NC’s water quality. In fact, after contacting your own representative, send it to all since everyone will vote on it.
NOTE: An easy way to find your senator and representative’s contact information is to visit these sites. Clicking on the person’s name will bring up the contact information.
All House Members: HouseEfirstname.lastname@example.org
All Senate Members: SenateEemail@example.com
All Legislators: InternetE-Mail@ncleg.net