One of the 2017 legislative session’s more vivid bills dealt with what one environmentalist attorney dubbed “garbage juice in a snowblower.”
That’s a catchy description of aerosolization, which is spraying leachate wastewater drained from landfills into the air. The bill requires state environmental regulators to approve the practice in lined sanitary landfills, and allow it for unlined sanitary landfills.
The bill’s sponsors say it is a safe and cost-effective process, but environmentalists contend it is unproven technology. Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill on Friday.
The legislature is due to reconvene in August, in part to consider overriding vetoes.
Here are some of the other ideas that the N.C. General Assembly considered this year related to the environment, and where those ideas stood by the time state lawmakers adjourned their more than five-month session early Friday morning. For even more, read our roundups of what happened on education, the environment, public safety, employee pay and benefits, taxes, conflicts between the branches of government and some of the other notable issues of session.
The premiere environmental bill that came out of the session was House Bill 589, a sustainable energy bill meticulously crafted over nine months with lots of outside input and overwhelming support in the House. But the Senate ignored House pleas to keep the bill intact to maintain support for it.
Instead, Senate Republicans imposed a moratorium on wind energy projects. They wanted a moratorium lasting through 2020, but settled for a compromise of 18 months rather than dash the entire legislation.
Environmental groups oppose any moratorium, which could affect two proposed projects. The bill is awaiting action from Cooper.
Last-minute attempts to reach agreement on other, related deregulation bills failed. Proposals included repealing the plastic bag ban on the Outer Banks and relaxing stream buffers.
The legislature gave North Carolina’s hog farms extra protection from lawsuits, overriding another Cooper veto.
The law limits the amount of money people can collect in future lawsuits against the farms for odors, headaches, flies and other aggravations. Critics said it would keep such lawsuits from being filed, while supporters said it protects a vital state industry from predatory lawyers and financial uncertainty.