Friday, March 30, 2007

Environment and Energy

The state's hog lagoon moratorium is set to expire in September and several lawmakers have filed bills dealing with the potentially toxic pits. Reps. Carolyn Justice and Marvin Lucas are the sponsors of legislation, House Bill 1115, that would effectively block most new lagoons, but also help swine farmers willing to experiment with other ways to treat hog waste pay for the new technology. The bill, which I co-sponsored, would create a five-year, $50 million program to help an estimated 100 hog farms. Sen. Albertson has filed a similar bill, Senate Bill 1465. Rep. Dewey Hill has filed a bill, House Bill 1254 to extend the moratorium for the fifth time. Rep. Earl Jones and I will soon be introducing a bill requiring that hog lagoons be phased out by a date certain.

I have filed House Bill 1233 with Representatives Pryor Gibson and Lucy Allen, which would vastly improve landfill siting and operation in North Carolina. The Environmental Review Commission, on which I sit, has been studying the issued for several months and the legislation reflects that work.

I have again filed the "Clean Cars" bill, House Bill 1179, which would require that new cars sold meet the stricter and cleaner California standards (which still rank below those set by China).

Representatives Allen, Wainwright, Haire, and I have introduced House Bill 901, which would authorize a referendum on a $1 billion bond initiative for land and water conservation.

I have been working with my colleagues, who are committed to passing renewable energy and energy efficiency-related legislation, to provide incentives and set construction standards in government buildings. Some of these measures I have introduced this week are:

House Bill 1073, providing a revolving, no interest loan fund for schools to use for energy efficiency related construction;

House Bill 1074, allowing a renewable energy tax credit for certain contributions to non profits;

House Bill 1075, requiring that all new state government buildings, including those in the UNC system and community colleges, be energy efficient and sets the standards for compliance; and

House Bill 1187, with Rep. Susan Fisher, which prohibits cities and counties from enacting ordinances preventing the installation of, or denying permission to, install energy devices based on renewable resources.

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