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Who is watching the coast? Coastal Resources Commission largely vacant

The Coastal Resources Commission has been pretty much of a shell of itself recently, after most of the commission had their terms ended as a result of a legislature-ordered reorganization.

But that may be about to change. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to announce new appointments in the coming days according to Ryan Tronovitch, a spokesman for the governor.

The legislature this summer voted to reduce the commission from 15 to 13 members, and ended the terms of 11 of the 15 members as of July 30th. It kept four members on until next June.

The four-members met in August, but cancelled a meeting in September in Nags Head because of the lack of membership. Their next scheduled meeting is in December. But they did hold a special session in August to respond to a court case with just four members, deciding that four members constituted a quorum.

"Essentially the commission is out of business for the moment," said Frank Tursi, a spokesman for the North Carolina Coastal Federation, an environmental advocacy group.

"The commission has been operating under a cloud all year because of a bill to get rid of all or most of the commission members,'' said Bob Emory, the commission chairman from New Bern. "That has had an effect on what the commission has wanted to take on, knowing it could be replaced at any time..''

The commission has a lot on it agenda including variances to coastal rules, an update on the sea level rise report, a feasibility report for the Cape Fear region, and new rules for erosion rates should apply for inlet areas.

The new commission includes two appointments by the House Speaker Thom Tillis, two by Senate leader Phil Berger, and the rest by McCrory. Berger named his two choice in the budget bill, but they have not yet gone through the ethics clearance process.

The Coastal Resources Commission was created under the leadership of Republican Gov Jim Holshouser in 1974 to adopt rules and policies for coastal development along the 320 miles or oceanfront and 2 milion acres of sounds, creeks and marches.


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