What should the role of the states be in protecting human health and the environment?
Last Friday, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Economy held a hearing to untangle that complex question. North Carolina Rep. Pricey Harrison testified to the committee on the need for increased oversight and regulatory enforcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“The question is not whether states or the federal government have a role in environmental protection,” she told subcommittee members, “but whether each is playing its appropriate role under current law.”
Harrison highlighted the growing concerns of North Carolinians’ surrounding coal ash pollution from disposal ponds owned by Duke Energy as an example of how states are failing to protect citizens. The state began requiring more extensive groundwater monitoring a few years ago. But even now, with known instances of groundwater standards violations, no action has been taken by the state to get Duke Energy to address the contamination.
Another emerging issue is the reckless push to bring hydraulic fracturing to the state. State Senate Bill 76 would allow fracking in the state in two years, no matter the status of the state’s regulatory development, resources or staffing.