On Jan. 28, 2011, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue issued Executive Order Number 81 putting into effect the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) tailoring rule. Business and environmental advocates praised the move as the right thing to do for North Carolina. The Governor's office consulted with MCIC President Preston Howard in preparing both the Executive Order and the accompanying press release.

The North Carolina Rules Review Commission (RRC) approved the Division of Air Quality’s GHG “tailoring” rule [15A NCAC 02D .0544 Prevention of Significant Deterioration Requirements for Greenhouse Gases (GHG)] on Dec. 16, 2010. However, the RRC received more than 10 letters of objection requesting Legislative review. This delayed the effective date of the rule, which would otherwise have been Jan. 2, 2011, until the North Carolina General Assembly considers the rule. In the meantime the federal “tailoring” rule became effective in other states on Jan. 2, 2011.

North Carolina law empowers the governor to adopt an executive order providing for the immediate implementation of a rule to which objections have been filed when the Governor determines that immediate implementation of the rule is necessary to protect the public health, safety or welfare. This is only the second time since she took office, that Gov. Perdue has overridden the rules review process by immediately implementing the rule through executive order.

In a press release accompanying the Executive Order the Governor said:

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they are fighting to stay alive during this economic downturn. I simply cannot stand by and watch these businesses get hit with ridiculous costs for no good reason. We must focus our resources and efforts where the largest environmental impact will be felt and the requirements can be met in a cost effective manner -- and that's not our small businesses. This is smart for our air quality and best for our business community too.”

The governor then ordered:

"15A NCAC 02D .0544 as amended by the Environmental Management Commission on November 18, 2010, and approved by the Rules Review Commission on December 16, 2010, shall become effective this date and shall remain in effect unless the rules are disapproved by act of the General Assembly in accordance with N.C. Gen. Stat. § 150B-21.3(b1) or a court order makes modification or rescission of this Executive Order appropriate or necessary.”

The full text of the Executive Order is available online at: http://www.governor.state.nc.us/NewsItems/ExecutiveOrderDetail.aspx?newsItemID=1632.

The State Chamber, North Carolina Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund also supported the executive order.

"Environmental Defense Fund commends Governor Perdue for decisive action today that gives regulatory certainty to North Carolina businesses and provides health and environmental protections for everyone who lives and works in our state," said Jane Preyer, director of the North Carolina regional office for Environmental Defense Fund.