GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2017

S 1

SENATE BILL 434

 

 

Short Title: Amend Environmental Laws 2.

(Public)

Sponsors:

Senators Sanderson, Cook, Wells (Primary Sponsors); and Brock.

Referred to:

Rules and Operations of the Senate

March 29, 2017

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT to amend certain environmental and natural resources Laws.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

 

REPEAL YARD WASTE PERMITTING REQUIREMENTS

SECTION 1.(a) G.S. 130A‑290(a) reads as rewritten:

" 130A‑290. Definitions.

(a) Unless a different meaning is required by the context, the following definitions shall apply throughout this Article:

...

(45) "Yard trash" means solid waste consisting solely of vegetative matter resulting from landscaping maintenance.and yard maintenance, including brush, grass, tree limbs, and similar vegetative material.

(46) "Yard waste" means yard trash and land‑clearing debris, including stumps, limbs, leaves, grass, and untreated wood."

SECTION 1.(b) G.S. 130A‑294 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(v) Yard waste diverted from the waste stream or collected as source separated material is not subject to a solid waste permit for transfer, treatment, processing, storage, or disposal in a permitted solid waste management facility. Operators of facilities where yard waste is subject to transfer, treatment, processing, storage, or disposal shall, however, comply with all other federal, State, or local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations, or orders, including zoning, flood plain, and wetland restrictions, sedimentation and erosion control requirements, and mining regulations. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as limiting the authority of any local government to manage the transfer, treatment, processing, storage, or disposal of yard waste."

SECTION 1.(c) This section becomes effective July 1, 2017, and applies to the transfer, treatment, processing, storage, or disposal of yard waste occurring on or after that date.

 

Local Government riparian buffer uniformity

SECTION 2.(a) The General Assembly finds the following:

(1) The State has declared certain water bodies to be nutrient sensitive due to the high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, or any combination of those pollutants.

(2) As a means for reducing the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment that enters these nutrient‑sensitive surface waters, the State has initiated a program to maintain existing riparian buffers that is a part of a complete and integrated regulatory scheme for the protection and improvement of water quality that may be delegated for enforcement to qualifying units of local government.

(3) When the enforcement of the buffer program is delegated to qualifying units of local government, those units of local government should apply riparian buffer standards that do not exceed established State or federal standards in order to assure uniformity of regulation throughout the State.

SECTION 2.(b) G.S. 143‑214.23A reads as rewritten:

" 143‑214.23A. Limitations on local government riparian buffer requirements.

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Local government ordinance" action" means any action by a local government carrying the effect of law approved before or after October 1, 2015, whether by ordinance, ordinance, including, but not limited to, zoning, subdivision control, flood control, or water supply watershed protection ordinances, comprehensive plan, policy, resolution, condition of approval imposed on an applicant for approval of a development plan, or special or conditional permit, or other measure.

(2) "Protection of water quality" means nutrient removal, pollutant removal, stream bank protection, or protection of an endangered species as required by federal law.

(3) "Riparian buffer area" means an area subject to a riparian buffer requirement.

(4) "Riparian buffer requirement" means a landward setback from surface waters.water bodies or any other hydrologic bodies to which a riparian buffer may be applied.

(a1) The provisions of this section apply to all enacted or proposed local government actions that include or impose riparian buffer requirements violating subsection (b) of this section, even if the local government action has been approved by the Commission, the Department, or other State agency.

(b) Except as provided in this section, a local government may not enact, implement, or enforce a local government ordinance action or apply for or renew a permit issued by any State or federal agency that requires a local government action that establishes a riparian buffer requirement that exceeds riparian buffer requirements necessary to comply with or implement federal or State law or a condition of a permit, certificate, or other approval issued by a federal or State agency.riparian buffer requirements directly imposed by State or federal law. This subsection shall not apply to a permit required by a federal agency as a condition of federal funding or of federal approval for a project initiated prior to the effective date of this section.

(c) Subsection (b) of this section shall not apply to any local government ordinance action that establishes a riparian buffer requirement enacted prior to August 1, 1997, if (i) the ordinance action included findings that the requirement was imposed for purposes that include the protection of aesthetics, fish and wildlife habitat, and recreational use by maintaining water temperature, healthy tree canopy and understory, and the protection of the natural shoreline through minimization of erosion and potential chemical pollution in addition to the protection of water quality and the prevention of excess nutrient runoff, and (ii) the ordinance action would permit small or temporary structures within 50 feet of the water body and docks and piers within and along the edge of the water body under certain circumstances.

(d) A local government may request from the Commission the authority to enact, implement, and enforce a local government ordinance that establishes a riparian buffer requirement for the protection of water quality that exceeds riparian buffer requirements for the protection of water quality necessary to comply with or implement federal or State law or a condition of a permit, certificate, or other approval issued by a federal or State agency. To do so, a local government shall submit to the Commission an application requesting this authority that includes the local government ordinance, including the riparian buffer requirement for the protection of water quality, scientific studies of the local environmental and physical conditions that support the necessity of the riparian buffer requirement for the protection of water quality, and any other information requested by the Commission. Within 90 days after the Commission receives a complete application, the Commission shall review the application and notify the local government whether the application has been approved, approved with modifications, or disapproved. The Commission shall not approve a local government ordinance that establishes a riparian buffer requirement for the protection of water quality unless the Commission finds that the scientific evidence presented by the local government supports the necessity of the riparian buffer requirement for the protection of water quality.

(d1) Local government actions violating subsection (b) of this section that are required by a permit issued by a State or federal agency, including, but not limited to, an NPDES or a permit condition imposed to meet a TMDL shall remain in place and may be enforced until the permit upon which they are based expires. Upon the expiration of the permit that is the basis for an existing local government action violating subsection (b) of this section, the existing local government action shall be unenforceable.

."

SECTION 2.(c) This section is effective when this act becomes law.

 

Shellfish enterprise areas

SECTION 3.(a) G.S. 113‑201 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(d) The Marine Fisheries Commission may adopt rules to establish Shellfish Aquaculture Enterprise Areas to facilitate shellfish aquaculture opportunities through advanced siting and preapprovals from relevant federal and State agencies. The Secretary shall only issue nontransferrable leases to residents of North Carolina within designated Shellfish Aquaculture Enterprise Areas. Any leased parcel within a Shellfish Aquaculture Enterprise Area that is relinquished or terminated shall revert to the State and be made available to other applicants."

SECTION 3.(b) G.S. 113‑201.1 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(3a) "Shellfish Aquaculture Enterprise Area" means an area designated and permitted by the Department that is subdivided into parcels and made available for shellfish aquaculture leasing."

 

marine fisheries clarifying changes

SECTION 4.(a) G.S. 113‑203 reads as rewritten:

" 113‑203. Transplanting of oysters and clams.

(a2) It is unlawful to do any of the following:

(1) Transplant oysters or clams taken from public grounds to private beds except when lawfully taken during open season and transported directly to a private bed in accordance with rules of the Marine Fisheries Commission.

(2) Transplant oysters or clams taken from permitted aquaculture operations to private beds except from waters in the approved classification.

(3) Transplant oysters or clams from public grounds or permitted aquaculture operations utilizing waters in the prohibited, restricted or conditionally approved classification to private beds except when the transplanting is done in accordance with the provisions of this section and implementing rules.

(a3) It Unless the Secretary determines that the nursery of shellfish in an area will present a risk to public health, it is lawful to transplant seed oysters or seed clams taken from permitted aquaculture operations that use waters in the prohibited, restricted or conditionally approved classification to private beds pursuant to an Aquaculture Seed Transplant Permit issued by the Secretary that sets times during which transplant is permissible and other reasonable restrictions imposed by the Secretary under either of the following circumstances:

(1) When transplanting seed clams less than 12 millimeters in their largest dimension.

(2) When transplanting seed oysters less than 25 millimeters in their largest dimension.

."

SECTION 4.(b) G.S. 113‑168.4(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b) Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is unlawful for any person licensed under this Article to sell fish taken outside the territorial waters of the State or to sell fish taken from coastal fishing waters. A person licensed under this Article may sell fish taken outside the territorial waters of the State or sell fish taken from coastal fishing waters under any of the following circumstances:

(1) The sale is to a fish dealer licensed under G.S. 113‑169.3.

(2) The sale is to the public and the seller is a licensed fish dealer under G.S. 113‑169.3.

(3) The sale is of oysters or clams from fish reared in a hatchery or aquaculture operation to the holder of an Aquaculture Operation Permit, an Under Dock Culture Permit, or a shellfish cultivation lease for further grow out."

 

River Herring fisheries management

SECTION 5.(a) The Division of Marine Fisheries shall review its Fishery Management Plan for river herring (blueback herring, Alosa aestivalis, and alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus) and report no later than December 15, 2017, to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources regarding the continuing validity and scientific basis for the continued status of both species as "overfished." If the Division does not have an adequate scientific basis to review the status of both species, then the report should include cost estimates for the restoration of spawning and nursery area surveys and age composition work for all coastal streams within the State that historically contained significant river herring fisheries.

SECTION 5.(b) There is appropriated from the General Fund to North Carolina Sea Grant at North Carolina State University (Sea Grant) the sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) in nonrecurring funds to be used for a study of existing science regarding the current and projected future status of river herring populations in State waters. In its study, Sea Grant shall evaluate the sufficiency of the scientific evidence supporting the current moratorium on the river herring fishery and determine whether (i) the evidence supports a continued moratorium, (ii) the evidence supports ending the moratorium, or (iii) the evidence is insufficient to reach a conclusion regarding the moratorium and further study is needed. If the Sea Grant determines that further study is required, Sea Grant shall include in its report a research plan, time line, funding needs, and possible research partners that minimizes duplication with other public and private nonprofit organizations studying river herring fisheries issues in the State.

 

State participation in siting of atlantic intracoastal waterway dredged material disposal Easements

SECTION 6.(a) The Division of Coastal Management of the Department of Environmental Quality and the State Property Office are authorized to negotiate with appropriate agencies of the federal government an agreement for the State to assume responsibility for acquiring dredged material easement sites appropriate for maintenance dredging of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway between Beaufort Inlet and the border with the Commonwealth of Virginia in exchange for the reduction in size and possible change in location of dredged material disposal easement sites currently held by the federal government. The agreement shall provide for the federal government to relinquish certain dredged material disposal easements that are excess to maintenance project needs in exchange for the acquisition and furnishing to the federal government other easements that are sited and permitted by the Division of Coastal Management and acquired by the State Property Office under its powers of condemnation or otherwise using such funds as may be appropriated by the General Assembly from the Shallow Draft Navigation Channel Dredging and Aquatic Weed Fund established under Part 8B of Article 21 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes for that purpose.

SECTION 6.(b) G.S. 143‑215.73F(b) is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(4) To provide funding for siting and acquisition of dredged disposal easement sites associated with the maintenance of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway north of Beaufort Inlet and south of the border with the Commonwealth of Virginia, under a Memorandum of Agreement between the State and the federal government."

 

invasive series management to preserve ecosystem diversity

SECTION 7.(a) G.S. 113‑129(10a) is recodified as G.S. 113‑129(10b).

SECTION 7.(b) G.S. 113‑129, as amended by subsection (a) of this section, is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(10a) Invasive species. Any of the following:

a. Brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis).

b. Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus).

c. Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus).

d. Coyote (Canis latrans).

e. European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

f. Feral swine (Sus scrofa).

g. House sparrow (Passer domesticus).

h. Nutria (Myocastor coypus).

i. Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)."

SECTION 7.(c) Article 22 of Chapter 113 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

" 113‑292.1. Control of invasive species.

(a) The General Assembly finds that invasive species present a significant threat to ecosystems, agriculture, and private property across the State and that the hunting and trapping of those species is a practical and cost‑effective solution to controlling these populations.

(b) The Wildlife Resources Commission shall issue rules establishing open seasons and manner of take requirements in all 100 counties of the State for all invasive species that the Commission determines to be game animals or game birds. Seasons established under this subsection shall maximize opportunities for hunters and trappers to take invasive species.

(c) With respect to invasive species that the Wildlife Resources Commission finds are not game animals or game birds, the Commission shall develop programs to encourage control of those species by State agencies, local governments, private landowners, hunters, and trappers.

(d) Any local acts in conflict with the provisions of this section are repealed to the extent of the conflict."

 

General PRovisions

SECTION 8.(a) If any section or provision of this act is declared unconstitutional or invalid by the courts, it does not affect the validity of this act as a whole or any part other than the part declared to be unconstitutional or invalid.

SECTION 8.(b) Except as otherwise provided, this act is effective when it becomes law.