Jordan Lake advocates call on rejection of bill to repeal cleanu - WFLA News Channel 8

Jordan Lake advocates call on rejection of bill to repeal cleanup plan

Posted: Updated:
Clean Jordan Lake volunteers collect trash on the shoreline from Poe's Ridge Boat Ramp to B. Everett Jordan Dam. (Anna Whaley, WNCN) Clean Jordan Lake volunteers collect trash on the shoreline from Poe's Ridge Boat Ramp to B. Everett Jordan Dam. (Anna Whaley, WNCN)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Local leaders, business owners and residents gathered at Jordan Lake Friday to urge lawmakers to reject a bill that would repeal a 2009 cleanup plan for the lake.

"I'm a Republican and here I am talking with all the environmental groups," Morrisville Town Councilman Mark Stohlman said at Friday's event. "I think what it shows is we're talking about fish and birds, not elephants and donkeys."

Senate Bill 515, entitled the Jordan Lake Water Quality Act, would repeal a 2009 plan to mitigate pollution and runoff flowing into Jordan Lake.

The Senate passed the bill last week with 31-16 vote. It has been referred to the House Committee on Environment.

The bill argues, "The design of the lake creates a situation of perpetual impairment regardless of upstream variables. Therefore, the state's existing nutrient management strategies regulating the lake basin will continue to have little or no effect on water quality improvement in the lake itself."

The lake, which includes parts of 10 counties in the Piedmont region, was created 30 years ago to provide flood control and water supply. But it has struggled from the outset with high nutrient levels that cause harmful algae buildup.

Opponents of the bill say the 2009 cleanup plan would reduce pollution into Jordan Lake by up to 35 percent.

"The Senate's vote to repeal the Jordan Lake rules is a slap in the face to all of us who care about the quality of the lake's water for people who drink it, fish, swim and play in it," said Elaine Chiosso, with Haw River advocacy group Haw Riverkeeper. "Dirty water gets to the lake from dirty creeks."

Chis Carter, with Haw River Assembly added, "If we remove these rules, we're going to see the lake deteriorate. It will smell bad, there will be more beach closures, fish kills -- things that are rare now will become more common."

Jordan Lake is a source of drinking water for more than 300,000 Triangle residents. The lake also brought 1.2 million visitors to its shores in 2012 for leisure, recreation and sport.

"Tourism in Chatham generates about $28 million to the local economy," Chatham County Commissioner Sally Kost explained. "That may not seem like a big number to many; but to our 65,000 people, that is a big number."

Sen. Rick Gunn, R-Alamance, the bill's lead sponsor, lives in one of those upstream communities. He argues the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources studies show little to no improvement in water quality since 2004 but the rules require major investments and hassles for developers.

"It continues to put tremendous burdens on the counties, municipalities and the private sector," he said.

While the bill argues that the current nutrient management strategy inhibits economic growth, proponents of the cleanup plan say less pollution will attract more visitors.

"Which is better, less pollution or more pollution?" asked Elizabeth Ouzts, state director for Environment North Carolina. "For all who rely on the lake for drinking water, and for all the visitors who'll be flocking here this weekend, less pollution is clearly better."

The bill calls for a "completely new approach for water quality management" by establishing the "Jordan Lake Study Subcommittee to consider all issues deemed relevant to addressing the water quality in Jordan Lake."

It also directs state agencies to consult with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency to find ways to renew focus away from efforts to mitigate pollutants upstream--a sore spot for upstream communities that believe they're shouldering too much of the burden but a cause that many consider critical to improving water quality downstream.

The commission would then report any findings and recommendations to the 2014 Regular Session of the 2013 General Assembly.

"Repealing the existing Jordan Lake cleanup plan without any new plan in place makes no sense," said Molly Diggins, state director of the N.C. Sierra Club.

Jordan Lake Study Subcommittee would be made up of five Senators appointed by the president pro tempore and five Representatives appointed by the speaker of the House.

RELATED STORIES

RELATED LINKS

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

  • Wake CountyMore>>

  • Cary's Green Hope named top high school in NC

    Cary's Green Hope named top high school in NC

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:01:12 GMT
    Cary’s Green Hope High School was named the top high school in North Carolina by the U.S. News and World Report.
    Cary’s Green Hope High School was named the top high school in North Carolina by the U.S. News and World Report.
  • More than $100k in penalties issued in NC State Fair accident

    More than $100k in penalties issued in NC State Fair accident

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:26 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:26:10 GMT
    Five people were injured on the Vortex when the ride jolted into motion at the 2013 N.C. State Fair.Five people were injured on the Vortex when the ride jolted into motion at the 2013 N.C. State Fair.
    The Department of Labor issued more than $100k in penalties in connection with an accident at the State Fair in 2013 that injured five people.
    The Department of Labor issued more than $100k in penalties in connection with an accident at the State Fair in 2013 that injured five people.
  • Raleigh police release photos of robbers of sweepstakes parlor

    Raleigh police release photos of robbers of sweepstakes parlor

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:08 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:08:46 GMT
    Raleigh police released images of two suspects said to have shot a man at an Internet sweepstakes parlor in Raleigh Wednesday on Crabtree Boulevard.

    Raleigh police released images of two suspects said to have shot a man at an Internet sweepstakes parlor in Raleigh Wednesday on Crabtree Boulevard.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Monday, April 14 2014 4:07 PM EDT2014-04-14 20:07:04 GMT
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
  • Piedmont Farm Tour

    Piedmont Farm Tour

    Piedmont Farm Tour

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:25 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:25:38 GMT
    The 2014 Piedmont Farm Tour is happening April 26-27 from 2-6pm both days! Come learn about the Triangle’s local and organic farm food scene. Meet local farmers tour their farms!View ourGoogle Interactive Mapfor alist ofthe exceptional farms on the tour this year – with driving directions!Download a PDF of theFarm Tour Brochure - Farm tour maps, directions and descriptions of all the fun things to do at each farm! How to Take the Piedmont Farm Tour Load up a car with your friends andfamily...
    The 2014 Piedmont Farm Tour is happening April 26-27 from 2-6pm both days! Come learn about the Triangle’s local and organic farm food scene. Meet local farmers tour their farms!View ourGoogle Interactive Mapfor alist ofthe exceptional farms on the tour this year – with driving directions!Download a PDF of theFarm Tour Brochure - Farm tour maps, directions and descriptions of all the fun things to do at each farm! How to Take the Piedmont Farm Tour Load up a car with your friends andfamily...
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.