General Assembly Overrides Governor Cooper’s Veto on House Bill 488

North Carolina Misses Opportunity to Transition to Clean Buildings, Loses Federal Dollars 

RALEIGH, NC — The North Carolina General Assembly overrode Governor Cooper’s veto of HB 488. The bill freezes the state’s residential building codes, as well as energy, plumbing, and mechanical codes, until 2031. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, North Carolina already has the weakest building codes in the southeastern United States

The bill will likely make North Carolina ineligible for certain types of federal funding, such as FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, for which the state has received $73.8 million in the first two rounds for 25 different projects; the Inflation Reduction Act’s $1 billion to support code updates, implementation, and enforcement; and $225 million in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds that incentivize the adoption of modern building codes. These federal grant programs prioritize funding for states that are committed to maintaining up-to-date codes and delivering higher performing homes for their residents.

The following is reaction from Rob Moore, Senior Policy Analyst at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):

“An affordable home shouldn’t mean one that’s cheaply built in an unsafe location, due to weak codes and construction standards. 

“HB 488 helps pad developers’ profit margins while taking money out of the pocketbooks of the families who will live in those homes. State building codes should require builders to use the latest energy efficiency measures and account for flood risk in new construction, but the General Assembly has blocked progress. So North Carolinians who are buying or renting a home built between now and 2031, will pay more for energy, more for water, and more for insurance; and their homes will exacerbate the climate crisis while being vulnerable to flooding and storms.

“The General Assembly made the wrong choice by overruling Governor Cooper’s veto and by turning away from modernizing new homes. Not only does it leave renters and home buyers in a financial lurch, but it takes North Carolina out of the running to receive millions of federal dollars to improve buildings and make them more climate resilient and energy efficient.”

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Established in 1970, NRDC uses science, policy, law, and people power to confront the climate crisis, protect public health, and safeguard nature. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, Beijing and Delhi (an office of NRDC India Pvt. Ltd). Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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