Dismantled: New report details years of cuts to North Carolina’s environmental protections

Released today, the SELC report Dismantled chronicles the trend of state officials undermining the sensible environmental policies that make North Carolina a great place to visit, live, and do business.

For six years, policies ensuring North Carolina’s long-term environmental health have been the target of state officials. Dismantled provides a comprehensive overview of the systematic attacks from state legislators and administration officials on coastal and water protections, air quality improvements, and open space preservation.

Once recognized as a leader in stewardship, North Carolina is now a cautionary tale for environmental rollbacks that threaten the state’s heritage. The report is marked by accounts of cuts to state agency funding, bans on environmental protections, and prioritizing short-term gains for special interests over long-term planning to benefit all North Carolinians.

Consider, since 2011:

  • The state attempted to outlaw the study of sea level rise;
  • The budget of the state agency responsible for protecting clean air and clean water has been cut 40 percent;
  • A ban on state environmental protections that are more stringent than federal laws was passed, ignoring local concerns;
  • Seats on state environmental boards were taken from scientific, health, and nonprofit members and given to industry and political appointees;
  • Renewable energy continues to come under attack, despite the economic potential and environmental benefits it provides.
  • After meetings at the Governor’s Mansion, the politically influential Duke Energy, the nation’s largest utility, managed passage of a new state law that allows Duke to leave most of its coal ash in place, ignoring pollution of rivers, lakes, and groundwater.

Again and again, the North Carolina political leadership has put protecting the state’s water, air, coast, and open spaces second to keeping polluters happy.

“The results have been catastrophic,” reads the report. “These actions undermine and cut protections for the clean air, clean water, healthy landscapes and beaches that North Carolina families need and enjoy.”

More News

With latest environmental attack, Trump administration seeks to further silence vulnerable communities

Today the Trump administration said it will issue an executive order directing federal agencies to bypass a longstanding bedrock environmental la...

Standing in solidarity

A statement from the Southern Environmental Law Center Executive Director Jeff Gleason: The horrific murders of George Floyd, and of Breonna Tay...

Years of fierce fighting end with floodplain preserved

With the recent $3 million sale of 547 acres of floodplain property, a 20-year saga over a billion-dollar South Carolina development came to a lo...

Decision to log forest ignores public input and science, threatens trout streams

In a decision announced May 22, the U.S. Forest Service committed to charging ahead with irresponsible plans to log in the headwaters of the Nant...

SELC op-ed: N.C. DOT should look beyond road building to projects that build stronger communities

As the North Carolina Department of Transportation faces multiple challenges made worse by the global health crisis at hand, now is our chance to...

Mega-landfill proposal threatens rural community, historic school

The proposed construction of a massive landfill in rural Cumberland County, Virginia, led SELC lawyers and the University of Virginia Law School’...

More Stories