Bill Holman from Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment wrote in yesterday to share that the much-discussed Falls Lake Rules have passed another important milestone: approval by North Carolina's Rules Review Commission this past Friday, Dec. 16.
Of particular note: it was widely expected early in the rulemaking process that the General Assembly would end up getting involved again in the matter, since once the Environmental Management Commission approved the draft rules (which they did in Nov. 2010), it would only take ten letters from, well, anyone to get the rules implementation stalled with further legislative review.
Holman notes the significant work that upstream cities/counties (Durham, Granville, Orange and the like) and downstream governments (notably Raleigh and Wake Co.) did to come up with consensus principles that prioritized Lower Falls clean-up now while giving more time, and more opportunity for scientific review, to the Upper Falls section closest to Durham.
Environmental lobbying groups noted in news releases their disappointment that the rules didn't give Upper Falls the same treatment or timetable as the portion closest to Raleigh's water supply, but they apparently decided they liked the rules well enough to hold off on letter-writing. So too, Holman notes, did pro-development interests.
Of course, all it takes is one legislator in the General Assembly to as much as file a bill contesting the rules for this to end up out of the executive sphere and back into the legislative.
But if neither homebuilders nor municipal officials nor environmentalists were concerned enough to drop forty-four cents ten times over to a certain Raleigh mailstop, well, who's to think the General Assembly session will be much different?