North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue (D) has declined to veto a bill (H.B. 819) that will prohibit state agencies from defining rates of sea-level change for regulatory purposes before July 1, 2016. Earlier versions of the bill opposed by the governor would have required state planning and regulatory decisions to draw on historical data rather than scenarios of accelerated sea-level rise predicted by scientists. The version that originally passed the state Senate would have also barred localities and other entities from issuing rules, ordinances, policies, or planning guidelines based on a sea level or rate of sea-level rise that differed from those established by the state Coastal Resources Commission.
The version that will become law calls on the commission to update a March 2010 scientific panel’s report estimating that the sea level will rise 39 inches by 2100. It also specifies that counties, municipalities and local government entities may define rate of sea-level change for regulatory purposes. Environmental groups reportedly urged the governor to veto the measure despite changes made by lawmakers. See BNA Daily Environment Report, August 2, 2012.