From Charlotte Observer:

Environmental advocates in North Carolina suffered setbacks Tuesday as Republican leaders rolled out a flurry of legislation sought by the state’s business interests.

Legislation unveiled in the House would reduce state regulation of toxic industrial chemicals like ammonia and sulfuric acid released into the air. A second bill in the Senate combines nearly two dozen changes to environmental laws, including a delayed cleanup of one of the main water supplies for Piedmont cities and broader access to taxpayer funds for underground fuel tank owners forced to clean up leaks.

Both bills are headed to a vote before Republican leaders wrap up this year’s legislative session later this week. House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said last week that reducing regulations on businesses is one of the chief job-creation tools the Legislature’s new GOP leadership has employed.

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The environmental legislation comes toward the end of a General Assembly session that has seen a GOP-written state budget that reduces spending in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources by more than 12 percent, cuts the agency’s work force by about 5 percent, and stops the agency from setting rules more stringent than minimum federal water and air quality rules.

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