(HENDERSONVILLE, NC- JANUARY 13, 2014)- ECO, Environmental and Conservation Organization, will host a public forum on Thursday, January 23rd at 6:30 at the City Operations Center to focus on North Carolina's roll back of environmental protections. Some of the issues of concern include new billboard rules that could seriously damage our tree canopy, new laws that delay energy efficiency standards which could result in a substandard housing stock, and recent acts by the General Assembly to remove Asheville’s control over their water system which could have far-reaching implications for our community.
According to DJ Gerken, Senior Attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center and one of the forum’s presenters, “North Carolina has thrived [for decades] under laws that fostered both a healthy environment and vibrant economy– but in the past several years the legislature has set about dismantling those laws under the false premise that we have to choose between jobs and the environment.” Gerken will be joined by the Honorable Chuck McGrady, NC House of Representatives, Attorney D. J. Gerkin of the Southern Environmental Law Center, and Co-Director Julie Mayfield of the Western North Carolina Alliance. Each panelist will speak individually on their understanding of the bills, as well as the long-term implications of the legislation.
Discussion will specifically cover HB 74 (Regulatory Reform Act of 2013), HB 120 (Building Codes: Local Consistency/Exempt Code), and HB 488 (Regionalization of Public Utilities). Some components of each bill may have undesirable long-range effects on the well-being of both the environment and citizens of North Carolina. The forum will not only discuss the challenges ahead, but what our community can do to stand up for its rural character. Join us on January 23rd at 6:30pm at the City Operations Center (305 Williams Street) for a provocative and stimulating discussion. Call ECO at (828) 692-0385 or visit www.eco-wnc.org for more information.