ACTION ALERTS

In committing to the work of becoming anti-racist, we know that confronting our failures will be difficult and painful. Guided by faith and grace, we are willing to accept this challenge and to do the necessary work.

Action Alerts – End of the 2022 Short Session Pile-up!

ENVIRONMENT: PROTECT WATER SUPPLIES FROM PFAS AND OTHER POLLUTANTS

In the 2022 NC Legislative short session, HB 1095 (PFAS Pollution and Polluter Liability) was introduced with broad bipartisan support.  It would hold polluters accountable for the costs of treating public water utilities water retroactive to 2017.

Background: PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals – “forever chemicals” – are among the most serious threats to clean water. They are used in lots of products, like Teflon and other coatings, and fire retardant foam; they are produced in North Carolina and have been shown to affect the lower Cape Fear River Basin.  

Chemours, a major manufacturer of PFAS, entered into a consent decree with NC DEQ which required Chemours to provide free water filters to groundwater users, but the agreement does not currently cover public water supply systems.  Rather, water customers of municipal systems with PFAS-contaminated water must pay for the costs of testing and installing expensive treatment systems to remove pollutants to make the water safe.

What would HB 1095 do? To remedy this situation and remove the burden from municipalities, HB 1095 would authorize the NC Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to set a standard for PFAS contamination in public water systems, and require polluters to pay for the costs of making drinking water safe. The Chemical industry opposes this bill.

As the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works on nationwide regulation of PFAS and similar emerging chemicals, it is imperative that the NC General Assembly, the Department of Environmental Quality(DEQ) and the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) prevent these contaminants exposing North Carolina families to elevated risks of cancer.

 Action Needed:

  • Call your House Representative (https://www.ncleg.gov/FindYourLegislators) to urge him/her to adopt HB 1095, which authorizes the NC Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to set a standard for PFAS contamination in public water systems, and require polluters to pay for the costs of making drinking water safe.
  • Here is a suggested script for a call or email:

   “Hi, I’m a [voter /constituent] from [house district, or county]. My name is ______. I am [calling/writing] to ask you to do all you can do to adopt House Bill 1095 (PFAS Pollution and Polluter Liability) during the 2022 short session.

    As a Quaker, I am particularly concerned about how we care for our water and all natural resources, and how we protect people from exposure to PFAS, so-called ‘forever chemicals’, and other pollutants.

   Our equality testimony leads us to know that the burden of keeping our water safe should not be imposed on the most vulnerable: those with lower incomes, the retired or other ratepayers. Polluters should bear the costs of cleaning up the water they contaminate.

   Please take action on HB 1095 during this session, and urge your leadership to bring it to the floor during this session.

   Sincerely,

  • Beyond 2022, Support legislation to ban the manufacture and use of PFAS
  • Action 1:   Ask House and Senate members to co-sponsor or support a broad ban on PFAS.
  • Action 2:   Ask your legislators what they will do to protect safe drinking water for all, free from all pollutants.
  • Support more funding for DEQ to monitor and test emerging contaminants like PFAS and keep them from endangering water supplies.

For more information on PFAS:

FCNCL Policy Statement: We urge greater attention to environmental protection measures, led by the Quaker testimonies of Stewardship and Equality.  More specifically, we call for actions by the North Carolina General Assembly to protect the drinking water of all residents from pollutants.  

ENCOURAGE PROGESS ON MEDICAID EXPANSION

Significant progress has been made regarding Medicaid Expansion in the legislature this spring based on meetings of the Joint Legislative Committee on Access To Healthcare And Medicaid Expansion.

On June 1, the North Carolina Senate passed House Bill H149 “Expanding Access to Healthcare” which would expand Medicaid to approximately half a million North Carolinians who currently do not have insurance coverage.  While this is a significant shift among Senate leaders who were previously opposed to expansion, hurdles remain in passing this bill in the House.  

Now it is critical to let our House representatives know the importance to Friends of passing Medicaid expansion during this year!

Please introduce yourselves to your NC House member by phone or by email  as members of Friends Committee on North Carolina Legislation and, if possible, use a personal story about the impact that falling into the coverage gap had for you, your friends or family.  Here is a sample script/letter:

Hi, I am a constituent from House district ___. My name is ______. I am calling/writing to ask you to do all you can do to advance House Bill 149 – Expanding Access to Healthcare – and to encourage Speaker of the House Moore to bring this bill up for a vote this year. I am pleased to learn that the North Carolina Senate has been convinced of the wisdom and need for this expansion to cover healthcare for approximately one-half million North Carolinians.  As a Quaker, I am particularly concerned about the inequity in our current health system, such that persons working full time but making low wages cannot qualify for Medicaid, leaving only illness or significant debt as their health care choices.

In my own experience (here’s where you can include a personal story about this)

I understand that there are many aspects to this bill, and it is unlikely that everyone will agree with all aspects of the bill, but please do not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good – the good that this will bring to so many of our citizens in need of preventive care and support for ongoing illness. Please help bring this to a floor vote now!

Thank you for your consideration,

UPDATE ON HEIRS PROPERTY BILL

This is an update to the January online FCNCL workshop you attended that focused on the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property bill (HB367), a bill that seeks to protect jointly held family property in North Carolina.  At that time, you indicated a willingness to lobby your senator to vote for this bill.

The Policy Committee has been following HB367, gathering information from professional lobbyists who are working on its behalf, and hoping for a time when we could encourage you to speak with your senator. Unfortunately, the bill is now waiting in the Rules and Operations of the Senate Committee and may not even come up for a vote in the Senate this session.

This does not mean that things are hopeless. Your senator might be able to pass along your concern to those on the Rules Committee, and we might be able to see the bill move forward for a vote! For this reason, we are asking that you make contact with your senator and urge them to support bringing the bill forward for the whole Senate to consider.

Of course the strongest statement you can make is to visit your senator in person. If this is something you would like to do, we encourage you to do so and would be happy to assist you in making the appointment or even finding another FCNCL representative to go with you.  Short of visiting in person, a phone call, hand-written letter, or email would also be effective ways of reaching out to your senator. If you have questions or need help with an appointment, please contact Pamela Schwingl at pschwingl82@gmail.com  or Susan Davis at sgdavis@bellsouth.net.

If you are unsure of who your current senator in the General Assembly is, you can find this information by entering your address at this legislative site:

https://www.ncleg.gov/FindYourLegislators  Once you know who they are, their contact information is also available through the www.ncleg.gov  website.

Need a refresher on what the Heirs Property Bill is? You can visit www.fcncl.org and review our Fact Sheet on Heirs Property.

The Heirs Property bill has been a challenge for us to follow and interact with; but we are learning how the General Assembly works, and the Heirs Property bill has taught us a lot! We appreciate your commitment to our Quaker witness and anything you can do to support this bill.

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