NC Senate proposal could hurt water quality in Jordan Lake
The state legislature has included a budget proposal that would have damaging consequences to the Jordan Lake area and the quality of North Carolina's water. The Senate has made an effort to pander to land developers, while stalling implementation of Jordan Lake's environment rules.
The General Assembly has stalled full imposition of the so-called Jordan Lake rules, a set of requirements aimed at reducing pollution upstream of Jordan Lake, the water source for 300,000 Triangle residents.
Now sweeping new provisions in the state Senate’s budget proposal could cause wider deterioration of water quality in the state’s reservoirs and waterways. A major proposed change is to repeal the requirements for riparian buffers along rivers statewide. The buffers – strips of natural vegetation along water ways – filter out pollutants, especially the heavy loads of fertilizer and petroleum products carried by stormwater runoff.
Republicans who control the Senate want to eliminate the buffers for the same reason the GOP-led legislature has stalled the Jordan Lake rules. It will help land developers who don’t want to set aside acres for buffers or otherwise control runoff from their properties.
The Senate proposal is far more than pandering to developers and agricultural interests. It is a threat to the quality of North Carolina’s waterways and the quality of drinking water. Some may see a short-term financial gain from lifting regulations, but hurting water quality ultimately hurts everyone in the state.
The Senate's proposal jeopardizes the chances of North Carolina maintaining clean water in the Jordan Lake region and displays how the current state legislature is focused on short-term policy that comes at the cost of North Carolinians and the state's environment.