Risk-based Environmental Remediation
Our Position: oppose
Bill Number: H1778
Legislative Session: 2006
HB 1778 represents an effort to convert NCs groundwater cleanup practices to a risk-based system. Currently, responsible parties must clean up contaminated sites to unrestricted use standards meaning anything from a playground to an industry can be located on the site and the groundwater will be safe for use. Risk-based approaches only make responsible parties clean up according to the anticipated future use of the site meaning partial cleanups will occur, resulting in a net loss of available groundwater.
Industry and their sponsor, Rep. Pryor Gibson (D-Anson), made a few attempts to push their version of the bill through, but in the end, pulled the bill. They'll be bringing it back up next year.
The NC Sierra Club has been participating in a stakeholder process regarding this issue. During the stakeholder process, two versions of a bill emerged the Industrys version, which caps the amount that responsible parties have to pay for existing sites and establishes a very low fee for future use of the risk system; and a Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources version, which takes the approach that the responsible party should compensate the public for the lost resource (clean groundwater). The parties involved in the stakeholder process were unable to come to agreement on a few key provisions, including the fee.