RALEIGH — North Carolina lawmakers are trying to push a huge water quality bill into law. The plan would add a long list new controls over hog farms, golf courses and private citizens, among others. A public hearing on the issue was held Thursday morning in Raleigh. It was a first step in getting reaction to the proposed legislation.
It's called House Bill 15 and it includes a 2-year moratorium on hog operation expansion, controlling fertilizer run-off from golf courses and controlling nitrogen discharge from sewage treatment plants.
The bill has support, but there are also some groups that would like to see some minor changes in it. That contingent is comprised mostly of those within the hog and golf course industries. But those who live near hog operations say the bill doesn't go far enough. Homeowner Jim Pridger said he knows someone who's home is actually sprayed with hog waste at times.
While both sides were represented at the Thursday meeting, there were no fireworks. The majority of comments about the proposed legislation, especially those from environmentalists, were positive. Bill Holman of the NC Conservation Council said his organization feels Bill 15 is a step in the right direction.
The Senate Agricultural Committee is taking into consideration all of the comments from the hearing. They continue to fine-tune the bill and are looking at how the legislation would be funded. They say it could come up for a final vote as early as next week.