RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has signed the legislature’s annual “regulatory reform” bill into law despite complaints from environmental groups about provisions affecting seasonal streams and involving potential exemptions from civil penalties for polluters.
McCrory announced the legislation among one of seven bills he had signed. The governor traveled to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians reservation Friday to sign one of the measures, which makes clear the ability of the tribe to operate several law enforcement agencies.
The state Sierra Club and other environmental groups had urged McCrory to veto the regulatory measure. Republicans writing these and similar bills argue the laws reduce regulatory burdens for job-creating business while protecting the environment.
One provision allows a business owner or operator to avoid some civil fines or penalties for environmental violations if they are discovered during a self-audit and problems are fixed within a reasonable period. Those audits also may be considered confidential. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will have to sign off on the immunity and privilege provision before it can be implemented.
Another provision prohibits the requirement that developers must perform mitigation projects should they disturb intermittent streams, which contain water during portions of the year.
The governor signed a separate bill making it a crime in most cases for someone to use GPS devices to track others against their will. There are some exceptions for law enforcement officers, parents keeping track of their children and private detectives, among others.
There are now fewer than 15 bills left behind by this year’s General Assembly session still on McCrory’s desk. He has until Oct. 30 to sign or veto them, or let them become law without his signature.