North Carolina has experienced tremendous growth over the last several years – a surge that is only set to amplify. By 2030, North Carolina will become the seventh most populous state in the country, adding another two million residents across the state. In order to keep up with this growth, there must be a sustained focus on cultivating a regulatory climate that supports a healthy environment and allows business to progress at the pace of the modern global economy. Considering burdensome regulations cost Americans almost two trillion dollars annually, it comes as no surprise that developing a modernized, streamlined regulatory climate is of increased concern to the business community. In an effort to analyze the state of North Carolina’s environmental regulatory competitiveness, the NC Chamber Foundation commissioned a study conducted by AECOM entitled Environmental Regulatory Competitiveness Benchmarking for North Carolina.
Utilizing benchmarking assessments of the environmental regulatory and permitting requirements for North Carolina and competing Southern states, the study evaluates the processes in each state and offers recommendations to strengthen North Carolina’s regulatory competitiveness as related to specific business scenarios (transportation networks, manufacturing, commercial development) and environmental media (air, solid and hazardous waste, wastewater and compliance). Reform recommendations outlined in the study are divided into regulatory and general administrative improvements, some of which include refining the NC Air Toxics Program, allowing monitoring exemptions under Stormwater General Permits, providing centralized permitting services and offering expedited permitting for all environmental permits. Implementing these recommendations and the others offered in the study will decisively impact North Carolina’s ability to attract investment now and in the years to come.
As we work to improve North Carolina’s regulatory climate to meet the state’s future needs, it is imperative that we strike a smart balance between supporting the growth requirements of job creators and providing commonsense safeguards for a healthy natural environment. This study and its recommendations will be invaluable as we set out to fortify North Carolina’s competitive regulatory climate.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber