"CHARLOTTE — When Republicans took control of the North Carolina legislature four years ago, they promised to do away with environmental regulations they claimed hurt economic growth. But environmental groups say lawmakers have gone too far, gutting laws aimed at protecting the public's health.
In the last few years, GOP lawmakers have scaled back pollution control programs, lifted a moratorium on natural gas exploration using hydraulic fracturing and pushed to remove key scientists and experts from state environmental oversight boards.
In the last week alone, they considered several controversial environmental measures. One would stop the state environmental agency from disclosing complaints and investigations on farms. Critics say that would shield farm operators from public scrutiny and discourage citizens from reporting violations. Another provision tucked in a regulatory reform bill would reduce the number of air quality monitoring stations in communities across the state."