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Posted Monday, June 17, 2013
Pittsboro, NC - I was involved with the establishment of the Jordan Lake rules to a degree. I attended stakeholder meetings and commented with legislators present before its passage. As a founder and past-president of the Haw River Assembly, as author and director of the "Haw River Drinking Water Survey, 1985," I had a stake in this rule and in the water quality of the Haw River. The Bynum cancer studies pointed to a drinking water problem.
In my opinion, the rules of the best set of regulations I have seen governing watershed rules for overall performance of the Haw River. The design is flexible for runoff expectations from each contributing sector: residential development, commercial development, urban runoff, farmland, poultry, cattle, etc.
Each sector expectation may be changed to accommodate the most recent research on it. There is a mechanism established for review. The stated goal is a nutrient level in the river for each section as monitored so that a healthy state is achieved.
If there is a rule which can work, the Jordan Lake Rules are the best. Others set specific runoff rules for oeprations and developments without considering the total effect. The TMDL (total maximum daily load) is the general guideline for cleanliness. And the monitoring reports of the river make clear the it is self cleaning, not considering the heavy metals or compounds which attached to river mud (soil particles.) Further, the river is cleaner than it has been in decades and is improving, due ot loss of industry up river.
The lobbies which objected most strongly were real estate, towns, cities developers. I can not quantify what impacts these rules have had on them financially. However, other rules would be far more stringent and costly.
Scaling back the regulation for the time being would seem judicious, with the understanding that, eventually, the rules could reinstituted in full at a later date.
While fully supporting responsible development, housing, population growth, and industry, I also back reasonable water quality and environmental rules and enforcement. The usual, historical way of doing this was to create a law and not fund its monitoring or enforcement. See funding of the Hunt 1980's WQ regs in the Water Quality Section of DENR (then, DEHNR.) Actual funding was restored under republican efforts later. We were proud of the laws, but I found the WQ section funding did not increase monitoring teams or support until republicans gained office under Jim Martin.
A more reasonable approach to trashing a perfectly workable law would be to cut funding for it temporarily and restore it later. The pendulum will swing the other way eventually and another, more stringent law may result to the dissatisfaction of the anti-rule lobby.
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