2011-12 Legislative Session Marks a Low Point for Environmental Policies and Safeguards
The end of the 2011-12 legislative session today concluded a sad episode in North Carolina’s long history of seeking to ensure clean air, clean water and high environmental quality of life for all its citizens.
“Without question, this was the worst biennium for the protection of our air and water since one of North Carolina’s original environmental lobbyists went to work in 1979,” said Molly Diggins, State Director of the NC Sierra Club.
In 1979, Bill Holman was retained by the Conservation Council of NC, and later the Sierra Club, to represent them before the General Assembly. Holman is currently Director of the State Policy Program of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.
“The past two years have been characterized --not by whether or not we should roll back environmental protections--but rather by how much,” said Diggins.
Along with an anti-science, anti-environmental legislative record, the NCGA today loses a number of long-time environmental champions, most notably Rep. Joe Hackney, who is retiring after 16 terms in the House.
“Rep. Hackney is one of the original environmental leaders in the House,” stated Diggins. “Hackney has had a hand in shaping nearly every positive environmental initiative in the state legislature over the past three decades,” she said.
“We hope that this low water mark in the legislature’s respect for conservation ends with this session, and that future legislative sessions will re-gain an appreciation for North Carolina’s wonderful natural heritage, and recognize that a vibrant economy depends on clean air and water,” said Diggins.