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New Bill Could Weaken Environmental Regulation

By Roderick McClain

08-09-10 – Gov. Bev Perdue has signed about a hundred bills into law recently, including a bill that may weaken North Carolina environmental regulations.

Back in 1971, the State Environmental Policy Act, or SEPA, was introduced to protect North Carolina from industries that could threaten natural resources and public health. State Representative Carolyn Justice explains how SEPA worked.

"Under SEPA no agency reports out until all have their findings. They then talk to each other and say, What's the cumulative affect of this industry?' Many of us believe that is a safer process."

With the law signed by Gov. Perdue, environmental regulation now falls under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. Under NEPA, each agency reports its findings immediately. In the meanwhile, a company may hire employees and order equipment, which might make it more difficult for officials to intervene if concerns arise.