The North Carolina Environmental Management Commission has scheduled a special meeting next month to consider a petition that rules be adopted that limit carbon dioxide, or CO2, pollution from the electric power sector in the state.

The meeting is set for 9 a.m. July 13 on the petition that the Division of Air Quality received in January on behalf of Clean Air Carolina and the North Carolina Coastal Federation from the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The petition requests that the commission adopt rules to limit CO2 pollution from the electric power sector and proposes participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, as the primary route to reduce CO2 emissions. Details will be posted on the EMC website.

A special meeting was held June 15 when the Air Quality Committee, after reviewing the petition, voted to advance the petition to the full commission, as previously reported.

Before the special meeting, the commission will have its regular meeting July 7-8 in the ground floor hearing room of the Archdale Building, 512 N. Salisbury St. Raleigh. Committee meetings are July 7. The Groundwater & Waste Management Committee meets at 9:30 a.m., the Air Quality Committee at 10:45 a.m. The full Commission Meeting begins at 9 a.m. July 8.

When the Water Quality Committee meets at 1 p.m., members are expected to hear a request for approval to proceed with proposed permanent rules to “Discharges to Federally Non-Jurisdictional Wetlands and Federally Non-Jurisdictional Classified Surface Waters” and Permanent Rule Amendments for “Discharges to Isolated Wetlands and Isolated Waters: Purpose and Scope.”

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army published in April 2020 the Navigable Waters Protection Rule in the Federal Register to finalize a revised definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act that went into effect June 22, 2020. The new rule fails to protect a subset of wetlands, as there was no permitting mechanism available to authorize impacts, according to commission documents.

The commission in May 2021 approved temporary rules to authorize impacts to wetlands no longer federally protected, which expire unless a permanent rule is adopted. The Division of Water Resources staff is asking for approval from the water quality committee to go before the full commission in September to request approval to proceed to public notice and public hearing on draft permanent rules.

The public is invited to attend the meeting in person or online. Face coverings are not required if you are fully vaccinated. Meeting audio and presentations will be broadcast via the state web conferencing link posted on the EMC website.

The Environmental Management Commission is responsible for adopting rules for the protection, preservation and enhancement of the state’s air, land and water resources. The commission oversees and adopts rules for several divisions of the Department of Environmental Quality, including the divisions of Air Quality; Energy, Mineral and Land Resources; Waste Management and Water Resources.

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Credit: Original content published here.

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