ICYMI: DEQ's science-based decision-making

Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 12:00am

In case you missed it, read our Assistant Secretary Tom Reeder's letter to the editor in the Durham Herald-Sun:

DEQ’s science-based decision-making

Our primary mission at the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is to protect North Carolina’s environment. In carrying out this mission, DEQ’s technical staff use the most recent science to draft reports and make recommendations on environmental policy.

The SolarBee draft report was recently finalized and will be presented to North Carolina’s environmental rulemaking body on Wednesday for its review. Contrary to accusations by the media and left-wing special interest groups, the draft report that was posted prematurely was edited to contain only information requested by the General Assembly.

The report on riparian buffer protection was amended for the same reasons. We have not recommended revisions to the riparian buffer protection program, but rather are reviewing all of North Carolina’s water quality standards as mandated by the legislature in 2013.

DEQ announced last week it intends to discontinue the SolarBee project after nearly two years of data indicated no significant improvement in water quality. As we work with the legislature to wind down the project, DEQ will recommend that the state continue to evaluate nutrient management strategies.

Finally, North Carolina is a national leader in cleaning up coal ash and is executing a transparent, science-based process to determine when and how each coal ash pond will be closed. It’s unfortunate that special interest groups continuously attempt to corrupt this process through legal maneuvers and releasing incomplete, preliminary information.

DEQ highly values its staff and relies heavily on their counsel to make the best decisions for North Carolina’s environment.

Tom Reeder

Assistant Secretary for the Environment