Perdue exempts small businesses from pollution rules

Posted January 28, 2011 3:57 p.m. EST
Updated January 28, 2011 4:47 p.m. EST

— Gov. Beverly Perdue issued an executive order Friday to exempt small businesses from recent federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

The order brings North Carolina into line with a federal rule to allow companies that emit a relatively small amount of greenhouse gases to bypass permitting regulations, Perdue said. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources planned to allow such exemptions, but the move was blocked by the state Rules Review Commission.

State environmental officials said the executive order would apply to about 50,000 pollution sources, saving them about $1.3 billion a year in permitting costs.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they are fighting to stay alive during this economic downturn. I simply cannot stand by and watch these businesses get hit with ridiculous costs for no good reason,” Perdue said in a statement. “We must focus our resources and efforts where the largest environmental impact will be felt and the requirements can be met in a cost-effective manner, and that's not our small businesses.”

The Environmental Defense Fund issued a statement in support of Perdue's move, saying North Carolina recognizes the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate pollution from large industrial sources.

"EPA's mandate from the U.S. Supreme Court to regulate greenhouse gas pollution is the law of the land," Michael Regan, the group's director of Southeast energy and policy, said in the statement. "The executive order smoothes the way for North Carolina to focus on the largest greenhouse gas sources in the state. This is a reasonable and practical approach that will alleviate potential burdens for the business community, while effectively protecting public health and the economy."