Wide Environmental Changes Get Initial NC Senate OK

Jul 2, 2015

Senate Republicans have backed off some provisions in their annual "regulatory reform" measure opposed by Gov. Pat McCrory's administration, but retain several that critics say would damage water quality and discourage citizen lawsuits.

The Senate gave tentative approval Wednesday to a wide-ranging measure focusing primarily on environmental rules. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources raised objections and GOP senators ran several amendments to address them.

The measure still says industries that self-report environmental violations or seek compliance audits can avoid civil fines and public disclosure of their problems. Another makes it easier for the state to get reimbursed for attorneys' fees when it wins a environmental or road-building court challenge compared to outside groups who win.

A final Senate vote is needed before it goes to the House.