2015 Environmental Legislation

04 May 2015 9:32 AM | Ward Marotti (Administrator)


AN ACT to reform and amend the State environmental policy act.


f.          Any irreversible and irretrievable environmental changes which would be involved in the proposed action should it be implemented.

            For purposes of this subdivision, a direct environmental impact does not include impacts that are speculative, secondary, or cumulative with other previous actions or that occur outside of the State.

(7a)      "Significant expenditure of public moneys" means expenditures of public funds greater than ten million dollars ($10,000,000) for a single project or action or related group of projects or actions. For purposes of this subdivision, contributions of funds or in‑kind contributions by municipalities, counties, regional or special‑purpose government agencies, and other similar entities created by an act of the General Assembly and in‑kind contributions by a non‑State entity shall not be considered an expenditure of public funds for purposes of calculating whether such an expenditure is significant


AN ACT to provide further regulatory relief to the citizens of north carolina by providing for VARIOUS administrative reforms, by eliminating certain unnecessary or outdated statutes and regulations and MODERNIZING or simplifying cumbersome or outdated regulations, and by making various other statutory changes.




(2)        Mitigation requirements for impacts to isolated wetlands shall only apply to the amount of impact that exceeds the thresholds set out in subdivision (1) of this section. The mitigation ratio for impacts of greater than one acre exceeding the thresholds for the entire project under 15A NCAC 02H .1305(g)(6) shall be 1:1 and may be located on the same parcel.

(3)        For purposes of Section 54(b) of this section, "isolated wetlands" means a Basin Wetland or Bog as described in the North Carolina Wetland Assessment User Manual prepared by the North Carolina Wetland Functional Assessment Team, version 4.1 October, 2010, that are not jurisdictional wetlands under the federal Clean Water Act. An "isolated wetland" does not include an isolated man‑made ditch or pond constructed for stormwater management purposes or any other man‑made isolated pond.

(4)        Impacts to isolated wetlands shall not be combined with the project impacts to 404 jurisdictional wetlands or streams for the purpose of determining when impact thresholds that trigger a mitigation requirement are met.


(2)        Vegetative buffers adjacent to intermittent streams shall be measured from the center of the stream bed.


(b1)      Exceeding Minimum State Requirements. – The Commission may approve a delegation application proposing a riparian buffer width that exceeds that required by the State for the type of surface body of water and the river basin or basins in which the unit of local government is located only in accordance with the procedures of this section:

(1)        Units of local government may request exceedances in riparian buffer widths from the Commission when submitting an application under subsection (b) of this section. Exceedances in buffer width enforced by units of local government under an existing local ordinance may not be enforced after February 1, 2016, unless the unit of local government has either received approval for an exceedance under the procedures set forth in this subsection or has an application for an exceedance pending with the Commission. Under no circumstances shall any existing local ordinance be enforced after June 1, 2016, unless the Commission has approved the exceedance. For purposes of this subdivision, an "existing local ordinance" is a local ordinance approved prior to August 1, 2015, that includes an exceedance in riparian buffer width from that required by the State.

(2)        The Commission may consider a request for an exceedance in riparian buffer width only if the request is accompanied by a scientific study prepared by or on behalf of the unit of local government that provides a justification for the exceedance based on the topography, soils, hydrology, and environmental impacts within the jurisdiction of the unit of local government. The Commission may also require that the study include any other information it finds necessary to evaluate the request for the exceedance.

(3)        The Commission shall grant the request for an exceedance only if it finds that the need for the exceedance in riparian buffer width is established by the scientific evidence presented by the unit of local government requesting the exceedance in order to meet the nutrient reduction goal set by the Commission for the basin subject to the riparian buffer rule.

(4)        For purposes of this subsection, "existing local ordinance" shall include a zoning district, subdivision or development regulation; comprehensive plan; policy; resolution; or any other act carrying the effect of law

(e3)      Limitation on Local Government Riparian Area Restrictions. – Units of local government may impose restrictions upon the use of riparian areas as defined in 15A NCAC 02B .0202 only within river basins where riparian buffers are required by the State.


AN ACT to establish the clinical exercise physiologist licensing act.



AN ACT to authorize cities to undertake activities within their stormwater management programs to implement flood reduction techniques that result in improvements to private property.



AN ACT to require the Environmental ReVIEW Commission to conduct a study of water resources availability in the Cape Fear River Basin.



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