Conservationists blast pollution reform bill; Say it would allow more tainted groundwater

ASHEVILLE — Legislation that conservation groups are calling a “Frankenbill,” which passed the N.C. Senate and is now moving through the House, contains sweeping revisions to environmental protection regulations.

The Regulatory Reform Act, introduced by Sens. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, Brent Jackson, R-Sampson, and Andrew Brock, R-Davie, and sponsored by Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, seeks to “provide regulatory relief to the citizens of North Carolina.”

The bill has a variety of provisions, including fast-tracking the permitting process for certain environmental permits, preventing local environmental rules from being stricter than state or federal statutes or regulations and allows industry — including coal-fired power plants — to contaminate groundwater up to their property lines.

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