North Carolina Environment - General regulations & environmental compliance analysis

North Carolina Environment - General: What you need to know

Overview of North Carolina's Environmental Rules


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In North Carolina, the counterpart to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR). DENR is responsible for protecting North Carolina's land, water, and air from pollution. North Carolina has been delegated authority by EPA to administer and enforce regulatory programs for air emissions, surface wastewater effluent and stormwater discharges, groundwater discharges, and solid and hazardous waste management. Many of the state's water and waste management rules, including those dealing with agricultural waste and wetlands, contain provisions that are stricter than corresponding federal rules. The state has also adopted its own occupational safety and health rules that govern workplaces in the private and public sectors. The state's rules were approved by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).


North Carolina's air program is shaped by its state implementation plan (SIP). The SIP is a plan detailing the methods by which the state will implement, maintain, and enforce the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). As mandated by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), each state must adopt and submit a SIP to EPA for approval.

North Carolina officially submitted its SIP to EPA in January 1972, but it is constantly being amended in order to comply with the 1990 CAA amendments. After EPA issues final approval of each amendment to the state's SIP, DENR will be fully authorized to enforce that amended portion of the SIP. The SIP contains standards addressing various types of air permits, as well as pollutant and source-specific emission ...

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