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Jordan Lake Rules Threatened

Jordan Lake, Durham, NC
Dave DeWitt
Jordan Lake, Durham

Thousands of visitors are expected to visit Jordan Lake on this Memorial Day. It’s a popular spot for boaters, kayakers, and campers. It’s also at the center of an ongoing fight over clean water.

In 1997, the State Legislature began the long, arduous process of addressing pollution in Jordan Lake. Algae blooms caused by upstream runoff threatened recreational activity on the Lake, and the drinking water that serves much of western Wake County.

“The lake seems wonderful as it is right now, but it’s really on fire,” says Chris Carter with the Haw River Assembly. “It’s really in a crisis situation.”

After dozens of meetings that included various constituencies in the Triangle and Triad, the Legislature in 2009 overwhelmingly passed a new package of rules that would eventually reduce pollution in Jordan Lake by up to thirty-five percent.

Earlier this month, the State Senate passed a bill that would repeal those rules.

“To throw away more than a decade of work in about two days is certainly dumbfounding,” says Elizabeth Ouzts, the State Director of Environment North Carolina.

Proponents of the Senate Bill say the law passed in 2009 is not working, and a new research commission needs to study the laws and report back next year.  Many of the law’s most significant regulations have yet to be implemented.

Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Feature News Editor. As an editor, reporter, and producer he's covered politics, environment, education, sports, and a wide range of other topics.
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