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North Carolina Alliance for Transportation Reform

WHEREAS, the theory underlying the creation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as a legal instrument is that it will help to avoid undue damage to the environment; and

WHEREAS, dramatic increases in North Carolina’s population are predicted for the next two decades, making it more urgent than ever to devise more effective measures to protect open space and habitats for our native wildlife and plant species; and

WHEREAS, under state and federal laws an EIS is normally required only for projects in which public funds are used; and

WHEREAS, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) rarely if ever cancels a planned project purely on the basis of the findings in the EIS; and               

WHEREAS, since the NCDOT has already determined to go forward with its various projects in any event, the EIS in most cases under the current system should be correctly viewed as an enormous waste of taxpayer money; and

WHEREAS, the NCDOT is responsible for implementing all phases of the EIS, beginning with the Environmental Assessment (EA)  to determine if an EIS should be conducted, through the issuance of the Record of Decision (ROD), all without any meaningful checks and balances or veto authority from any other agency; and

WHEREAS, for other major public works projects, such as a new transmission line by Progress Energy or another utility company, there may not be any requirement for an EIS at all, even though the impact on the environment might be devastating; and

WHEREAS, for major private residential subdivisions or for major commercial development projects, there will normally not be a requirement for an EIS unless the local county has implemented such an ordinance, even though the impact on the environment might be extensive and severe;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the North Carolina Alliance for Transportation Reform (NCATR) meeting in Greensboro, NC on November 15, 2008             urges the Executive and Legislative branches of state government to establish a new set of rules for the NCDOT’s use of the EIS, to include requirements to more seriously consider the no-build option, and to provide more checks and balances, greater oversight, and stronger veto power by other agencies, including the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that rules and statutes should be devised which will make it clear that an EIS is required for roads constructed through any public/private partnership arrangement (such as under the provisions of HR2318), or through any other arrangement where private funds are used, and further, that an EIS will be required for any road constructed by any local government, county or municipal or other; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that new rules or laws be devised to require an EIS for major utility projects, such as new electric transmission lines on new sites, even though no public funds may technically be involved; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the state statutes be changed to require an EIS for all major residential subdivisions and major commercial development projects, removing this as an option for the counties and making it mandatory from the state level.


SIGNATURE:   (On File)

PRINTED NAME:   Joseph R. McDonald

TITLE:   President   (Contact Info:  P.O. Box 70, Hoffman, NC 28347; 910/281-5271;

DATE:   December 1, 2008


Sent To:

Selected Members of the General Assembly
Secretary, NCDOT
Secretary, NCDENR
Executive Director, NC Wildlife Resources Commission
Chairman, NC Utilities Commission


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