Jordan lake letter to governor
Letter to Gov. McCrory from environmental groups.
NC Sierra Club • Environmental Defense Fund • WakeUP Wake County • American Rivers Haw River Assembly • NC League of Conservation Voters • Environment North Carolina Waterkeepers Carolina • NC Conservation Network • Clean Water for North Carolina July 19, 2013 Governor Pat McCrory Office of the Governor Raleigh, North Carolina Re: Senate Bill 515, Jordan Lake Water Quality Act, Implementation of TMDL Dear Governor McCrory: Our organizations collectively have for several years been working through public processes to protect clean drinking water supplies and improve the health of Jordan Lake and the other drinking water sources in the Upper Cape Fear River Basin. The Jordan Lake cleanup plan was put in place after a thorough public process and legislative review analyzed all available options and provided for flexible management of the resource. This followed upon the legislature’s enactment of the Clean Water Responsibility Act in 1997. We are concerned that SB 515, Delay Jordan Lake Water Quality Act, a measure working its way through the NC legislature, will abandon all of that work. By further delaying the restoration of this vitally important state resource and other drinking water supplies in the basin, it will ultimately increase the cost of cleanup to taxpayers without putting a scientifically sound alternative in its place. The Jordan Lake rules are the means by which North Carolina, under the Clean Water Act, will achieve federally mandated targeted reductions (Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL) in nutrient loading into the Jordan Lake reservoir. The TMDL is a binding agreement between the state and EPA, approved in 2007, that calls for reducing the pollutants that are causing impairment of the lake. A three year delay in the implementation of the Jordan Lake plan, as proposed by the House, would not relieve North Carolina of the obligation to achieve reductions under its TMDL. Worse, while the rules are on hold, new development will increase nutrient loading into the lake. Unmanaged polluted stormwater is the major cause of water quality impairment and must be corrected to restore water quality. EPA, in a recent letter*, has raised concerns about the potential impact of S. 515 on North Carolina's ability to achieve the TMDL for Jordan Lake. The EPA notes that any abandonment of efforts to achieve reductions from non-point source dischargers could make it necessary for the EPA to revisit the current TMDL and assign greater reductions to permitted point source dischargers. This would likely shift the cost of cleanup from new development to upstream cities like Burlington and Greensboro. The House is also proposing a pilot project funded by Clean Water Management Trust Fund monies and using water circulators and perhaps other technologies. However, the proposed project would not address nutrient reductions which are the focus of the TMDL and thus would not address the state’s obligations under the Clean Water Act. The cleanup of the lake has already been delayed several times by the NC General Assembly. These delays have hindered the restoration process, including putting off critical upgrades to wastewater treatment plants. While a number of localities have acted in good faith, these delays have made it increasingly difficult to make the case that the state is acting in good faith to meet the Jordan Lake TMDL. Passage of S 515 might make it impossible to do so, putting North Carolina at a significant disadvantage with respect to future negotiations with EPA. North Carolinians are relying on your administration to provide leadership on these important matters. We respectfully request that your administration oppose any version of S 515 that does not reduce pollution going into the lake and the streams that feed it and that does not comply with the TMDL. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Molly Diggins, State Director NC Chapter, Sierra Club Jane Preyer, Director NC Office, Environmental Defense Fund David A. Emmerling, Executive Director Waterkeepers Carolina Karen Ridge, Executive Director WakeUP Wake County Grady McCallie, Policy Director NC Conservation Network Elaine Chiosso, Haw Riverkeeper Haw River Assembly Peter Raabe, NC Conservation Director American Rivers Carrie Clark, Executive Director NC League of Conservation Voters Hope Taylor, Executive Director Clean Water for North Carolina Elizabeth Ouzts, State Director Environment North Carolina *Letter dated July 10, 2013 from A. Stanley Meiburg, Acting Regional Administrator of EPA Region 4 to Rep. Rick Glazier. cc: John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary, NC DENR Mitch Gillespie, Assistant Secretary, NC DENR Tom Reeder, Director, Division of Water Resources, NC DENR Stan Meiburg, Acting Administrator, EPA Region 4 Kathleen Waylett, Senior Deputy Attorney General, Environmental Division, NC Attorney Generalâ€™s Office Benne Hutson, Chair, Environmental Management Commission