The day after the General Assembly adjourned the current session, Governor Roy Cooper issued his 6th veto on House Bill 576, titled, “Allow Aerosolization of Leachate.”
The legislature has overridden all five of Cooper’s previous vetoes. The General Assembly plans to reconvene on August 3rd to override the latest veto.
House Bill 576 instructs the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to use the process of ‘aerosolization of leachate’ with regard to lined landfill sites.
The aerosolization process takes dirty wastewater collected in lined landfills, atomizes the liquid and then sprays it into the air over a specified region. The solid waste or contaminants fall to the ground, while the clean water would evaporate.
Proponents say it’s safe, while environmentalists are calling it the “garbage juice bill.” Neither side seems to cite scientific research on the topic.
Unlined landfills can be considered for the process but would be optional and subject to regulatory processes.
Applicants wishing to use aerosolization, are directed to provide DEQ with “data that characterizes contaminants of concern around the landfill emanating from aerosolization.”
DEQ is authorized by the bill to engage in “research, conduct investigations and surveys, make inspections and establish a statewide solid waste management program.”
Once DEQ has established a program, the department will need to develop a permit system. That system will oversee the creation and operation of solid waste management facilities.
DEQ has been given a deadline of March 31, 2018, to study various approved aerosolization projects. DEQ must report the findings to the state Environmental Review Commission.
Cooper’s Aerosolization Veto Message
“In this bill, the legislature exempts particular technologies that could potentially better ensure the health and safety of people and the environment,” said Cooper in his veto statement.
“Scientists, not the legislature, should decide whether a patented technology can safely dispose of contaminated liquids from landfills.”
“With use of the word “shall,” the legislature mandates a technology winner, limiting future advancements that may provide better protection,” said Governor Cooper.
Aerosolization Already In Use
During the 2015-16 legislative session, Republic Services gave a presentation to the legislature on aerosolization.
In their report, a 2013 NC Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) approved demonstration was cited.
The report says that an aerosolization system tested in 2013 showed that air sampling conducted detected levels below volatile organic compound standards.
The report also says that DENR issued an aerosolization permit on May 21, 2014 and included in their Operations Plan.
Other Bills Signed
Despite the 6 vetoes Governor Cooper has signed a number of other bills into law.
A full list of chaptered bills from the current session is available on the General Assembly website.
The Governor refused to sign House Bill 577. Per state law, any bill unsigned automatically passes into law.
House Bill 577 is the “Act to Modernize North Carolina’s Consumer Credit Installment Sale Contract Default Charge in Order to Level the Playing Field with Out-of-State Businesses.”