The N.C. General Assembly's Republican majority overruled Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of House Bill 600 on Oct. 10.
H.B. 600, or the Regulatory Reform Act of 2023, would affect environmental provisions for pipeline companies, as well as the hog and poultry industries.
“Every year since the Republicans took control of the legislature in 2011, they've had a regulatory reform bill, and regulatory reform, according to them, is taking away regulations on businesses — often at the expense of the environment,” Brooks Rainey Pearson, legislative counsel at the Southern Environmental Law Center, said.
According to a press release from the law center, provisions in the Regulatory Reform Act would violate parts of the federal Clean Water Act.
Another proposed provision in the bill would limit the state’s ability to prohibit toxic chemicals, such as PFAS, the law center said.
“This bill is a hodgepodge of bad provisions that will result in dirtier water, discriminatory permitting and threats to North Carolina’s environment," Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press release.
He said the bill undoes policy to promote fairness in state contracting for historically underutilized businesses because it blocks efforts to encourage diverse suppliers for state purchases.
Rainey Pearson said the bill cuts away at regulations that exist to protect North Carolina residents.
"There's this false idea that we can have a strong economy or a clean environment but not both, and that is a false choice and it's [been] proven over and over not to be true,” Rainey Pearson said.