At least one major Alamance County employer says the Jordan Lake Rules would mean an end to its business here, adding weight to officials fears over the potential costs and consequences of the measures.
“Without a doubt, this will be the end of production in Alamance County,” said Harold Hill, president of Glen Raven Inc. Technical Fabrics. “We in the industry are going to be asked to pay. We won’t go out of business. We will just move.”
Members of the State Environmental Management Commission heard hours of worries, pleas and ire over proposed Jordan Lake Rules at two public hearings in Elon on Tuesday. The rules are meant to reduce phosphorous and nitrogen levels in the lake contributed to by runoff into the Haw River.
The Greensboro City Council had a little discussion on the subject at last night’s meeting. (Yes, I noted the N&R headline.)
City water chief Alan Williams laid the situation out in no uncertain terms The Jordan Lake Rules would cost the region at least $1 billion and the City of Greensboro $75 million. They would require a retrofitting of storm water ponds in existing neighborhoods, which in turn would require the acquisition and condemnation of private property.Commercial and industrial property would require three best management pracitces for storm water control, which would put the Triad at an incredible economic disadvantage.
Furthermore, Williams said, there is absolutely no evidence the rules will have any positive effect. For starters, the bulk of nitrogen in comes from forests and agriculture. That said, the Haw River’s water quality has been steadily improving over the years. And it just so happens that there are chlorofil levels in Lake Brandt and Lake Townsend, both of which are protected by storm water best managment practices and are surrounded by low-density development.
“I cannot in good conscience, after 30 years of being in this business and in this position, sit here and tell you that what this bill is going to do is going to achieve anything near the benefit that the state proposes,” Williams concluded. “They’re making no guarantees that any of this billion dollars will achieve what they say the desired effect is.”
After listening to Williams’s presentation, the city council voted unanimously to approve a resolution opposing the Jordan Lake rules. What struck me later is the fact that many of the same arguments Williams presented could be applied to stringent and unrealistic air quality standards. Yet there’s no such unanimous skepticism from local politicians on that matter. Quite the opposite, if anything. Perhaps they’ve never had it explained to them in such clear terms.
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