Re-do for rushed pollution bill

Posted on June 24, 2014 

Sometimes legislators get going so fast they get out in front of themselves.

That was the case when the General Assembly rushed through a bill allowing groundwater contamination lawsuits in Asheville and Camp Lejeune to proceed in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this month. The bill cleared the legislature in a little more than a week, and the governor promptly signed it on Friday.

But that was a little too fast for all the lawyers to weigh in and make a simple one-page bill a little longer. On Tuesday, a House committee approved another bill correcting the first one.

The new bill emphasizes that it was never the legislature’s intent for the 10-year “statute of repose” limit to apply to groundwater contamination lawsuits alleging latent disease or other harm. Instead, it put a limit on product liability suits. The correcting bill, SB58, also emphasizes that nothing in the new legislation changes anything about the state’s product liability laws.

“These are minor changes that the legal eagles have pointed to,” Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Republican from Hendersonville, told the House Rules Committee.

The bill next goes to the full House, then to the sent and then back to the governor for his signature again.

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