Coastal Policy Reform Act of 2013 passes 2nd House vote

Jul 17, 2013

This article was modified to correct the terminal groins cap retained in the most recent version of the bill.

The Coastal Policy Reform Act of 2013 has passed its second reading in the North Carolina House.

The state legalized the erosion-control devices in 2010 – which are typically constructed at the end of an island to control the flow of sediment and inlet migration. 

In the earlier compromise bill, lawmakers opened the way for no more than four terminal groins to be installed in the state.   While the latest version of the Coastal Policy Reform Act retains the limit of four allowable structures in state, it lifts what had been prohibitive financial requirements for beach towns.

The bill also clearly defines the differences between terminal groins and jetties – going so far as to say “a terminal groin is not a jetty.” 

Representative Pricey Harrison, a Democrat from Guilford County, argued against the bill during yesterday’s debate in House chambers.   She says she doesn’t think it’s a good idea for the state to be hardening up its shorelines.

What this bill does is it rolls back many of the provisions that were put in place to protect the taxpayer and the environment.  And I think there’s a chance we could be committing taxpayers to future mitigation costs that far exceed the construction costs of these groins.  It seems like the language also allows for multiple jetties – excuse me -- terminal groins -- at these locations.” 

Representative Chris Millis, a Pender County Republican, counters that the legislation does, in fact, protect taxpayers from future mitigation costs. 

“Whoever constructs these four terminal groins in the state for us to see how the pilot project goes and for us to evaluate the effectiveness of it – that it includes long-term maintenance and monitoring.  It includes mitigation measures tied directly to the inlet management plan and it also covers the cost of the modification or the removal of the terminal groin if it doesn’t comply with the stats of the inlet management plan.”

The inlet management plan would not be required to consider sea level rise.