Published On: Fri, Jul 23rd, 2010
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The Raleigh Report – July 23

From the Office of Representative Phil Haire
In recent years, North Carolina lawmakers have started to think more about our state’s energy policies. These efforts not only help us save money, but also help us conserve our resources and reduce our dependence on foreign oil and other energy sources from outside of our nation. A number of important steps were made. The following focuses on some of the key legislation ratified during the short session that pertains to energy and environment.
 
Energy
_Legislation that will promote the use of renewable energy by extending the credit for constructing renewable fuel facilities and the credit for biodiesel producers has been ratified by the General Assembly and sent to Gov. Perdue to be signed into law (HB 1829). Among other things, the bill will also revise the tax credit for investing in renewable energy property and reinstate and expand the tax credit for a renewable energy property facility.
 
_The sunset on some economic incentives would be extended under a bill that has been ratified by the General Assembly and sent to Gov. Perdue to be signed into law (HB 1973). These economic incentives include a credit for constructing renewable fuel facilities, a credit for small business employee health benefits, and a credit for biodiesel producers, among others. Once enacted, the legislation will also provide an enhanced incentive for jobs in high unemployment counties.
 
Environment
_Certain environmental laws will be amended under a bill that has been ratified by the General Assembly and sent to Gov. Perdue to be signed into law (HB 1099). Among the changes are to (1) extend by one year the implementation of water system efficiency criteria for eligibility for state water infrastructure funds; (2) prohibit the use of high arsenic content glass beads when marking state or municipal roads or public vehicular areas; (3) modify the nutrient management strategy and adopt a sediments strategy for certain drinking water supply reservoirs; and (4) to protect and restore water quality and quantity in the Upper Neuse River Basin, Falls Lake, and other drinking water supply reservoirs by directing the environmental management commission to provide credit to local governments, land owners, and others who reduce water pollution in the Upper Neuse River Basin before permanent rules are adopted.
_A bill that modifies the computer equipment recycling plan requirements and the associated fee on manufacturers has been ratified by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Perdue (SB 887 – S.L. 2010-67). The legislation also makes further substantive, clarifying, technical, and conforming changes to the laws governing the management of discarded computer equipment and discarded televisions, as recommended by the Environmental Review Commission. The law is intended to ensure that end-of-life computer equipment and televisions are responsibly recycled, to promote conservation, and to protect public health and the environment. It will also provide for a comprehensive and convenient system for recycling and reuse of certain electronic equipment would be established and responsibility would be shared among manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and the state.
 
_Legislation to address oil spill liability, response and preparedness has been ratified by the General Assembly and sent to Gov. Perdue to be signed into law (SB 836). Among other things, the legislation will: (1) clarify liability for damages caused by the discharge of natural gas, oil, or drilling waste into state coastal fishing waters or offshore waters; (2) provide for the review of information related to proposed offshore fossil fuel facilities to determine whether they are consistent with state guidelines for the coastal area; (3) direct the Coastal Resources Commission to review existing laws and regulations that pertain to offshore energy exploration and production in light of the recent British Petroleum (BP) accident; (4) direct the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety to immediately review and update the oil spill contingency plan to prepare the state in the event that oil discharged from the BP leak comes to the North Carolina coast; and (5) direct the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to review limitations on recovery by the state for damage to public resources and for the cost of oil or other hazardous substance cleanup.
 
_Legislation that will establish a task force to develop a plan for the establishment and maintenance of a statewide water and wastewater infrastructure resource and funding database has been ratified by the General Assembly and sent to Gov. Perdue to be signed into law (HB 1746).
 
_Twenty-three private businesses, public agencies, and public and private universities will receive $5.6 million to create 400 jobs and internships to give students hands-on experience and training in North Carolina’s energy economy, the North Carolina Energy Office announced today.  The federal funds will be combined with other private and public dollars to create an internship program worth nearly $8.7 million.
 
Our office in Raleigh is staffed on a part-time basis during the interim period. Questions and calls will continue to be handled as quickly as possible. The Session of 2011 -2012 will begin on January  26, 2011.

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Rep. Haire and Legislative Assistant, Sara Jane Lennard, Intern, Paige Roberson may be reached at 300 N. Salisbury St., Room 639, LOB
Raleigh, NC 27603, 919/715-3005, philliph@ncleg.net

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