Archived Story

County opposes buffer legislation

Published 1:00am Friday, April 5, 2013

Beaufort County is not supporting proposed changes to requirements regarding protection and maintenance of riparian buffers.

At its meeting Monday, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners unanimously opposed those changes.

“We went to Raleigh about three or four years ago, and we got some of the stormwater rules changed at the point in time. All we really did was hit a good, hard, token lick to let them know that we’re here, that they needed to stop and slow down with what they’re doing. We still have these buffer rules. … There is legislation, that I just referred to, that tightens these rules, makes a more formal process for enforcing these rules for the state. In other words, it just tightens the noose around your neck a little bit more,” said Commissioner Hood Richardson, who made a motion for the county not to support the legislation.

Commissioner Stan Deatherage seconded the motion, which was approved.

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources is conducting public hearings on the matter.

“We would like for the Legislature to step in a put a stop to it,” Richardson said.

“DENR’s in control. They’re driving the bus. The Legislature has to stop it, otherwise it’s going to happen,” Deatherage said.

Commissioner Ed Booth asked Richardson if the proposed changes were the same ones the county opposed several years ago.

“We’re working against the same thing we were working against then,” Richardson said.

A riparian buffer is land adjacent to streams and rivers where vegetation is strongly influenced by the presence of water. They are often thin-lines-of-green containing native grasses, flowers and trees that line stream banks. Riparian buffers help prevent sediment, phosphorus, pesticides and other pollutants from entering waterways, thereby improving water quality.

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