To the Editor:
Now that the state legislature is in short session, one of the themes is regulatory reform. Let’s examine what their version of reform has meant to you so far.
Until the ash spill, Duke Power has gotten off the hook for their groundwater contamination. Your corporate neighbor can contaminate groundwater up to your property boundary — like it will stop there. We’re still waiting to see whether they’ll take serious action to address this ongoing hazard to your health.
Gas exploration companies can explore under your land without your permission. If most of your neighbors agree to allow drilling for fracking on their land, you may be forced into a contract to allow fracking on your property. Your tax dollars are currently being spent to explore WNC for the gas companies. Your tax dollars will be used to pay for the increased road repairs, police protection and emergency services that go along with fracking.
That’s what Gov. Pat McCrory, Rep. Thom Tillis and Sen. Jim Davis have done so far for their owner, Art Pope.
It’s important to remember why we have regulations. In a less complicated society our family and neighbors enforced the “community rules.” Now we have things like speed limits, noise ordinances, building codes, etc., that are enforced by government agencies (e.g., police) and represent the agreed-upon standards of behavior that are intended to protect the health and safety of the citizens.
In the best of worlds, individuals and companies would take full responsibility for their actions. For example, a company should discharge air and water of the same quality that it took in for its process. They would fully clean up any messes and hazards they leave behind. This personal responsibility is a core principal of conservatism but seems to be entirely lacking in this Republican legislature. Rather, they intend to transfer the cost and risk to you, the citizen, through increased contamination of your air, groundwater and surface water.