The Senate gave preliminary approval Thursday to a bill that would nearly eliminate a requirement that projects built with taxpayer money on public land receive an extra environmental review. A final vote is expected on Tuesday.
Sponsors of House Bill 795 say it is an outdated and unnecessary layer of bureaucracy. Environmentalists say it fills a gap in federal law, and has been a cornerstone a state policy for decades.
"If we pass this bill we’ll have fewer reports to go through, which means we’ll save more trees," said Sen. Andrew Brock, a Republican from Mocksville.
Sen. Angela Bryant, a Democrat from Rocky Mount, said she was concerned that no one has studied the implications of the bill.
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"With millions of dollars of public investment on public lands it is still important to take a thorough look at what the environmental impacts are, because once the damage is done, in most instances, it’s too late," Bryant said.
Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Democrat from Durham, objected to a provision in the bill that precludes review of secondary impacts, such as traffic, noise and property values.