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Efforts continue to quell the backlash over President Donald Trump’s changing statements on the Russia summit. Also on the Thursday rundown: protestors are out for Mike Pence’s visit to Missouri; and nobody wants to go, but one option is green burials.

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NC Water Quality in Jeopardy with Lifting of Regulations

The green swirls of water seen here in the Chowan River are an example of the impact of too much nutrients that can occur in North Carolina waters. (Heather Deck, Pamlico-Tar River Foundation)
The green swirls of water seen here in the Chowan River are an example of the impact of too much nutrients that can occur in North Carolina waters. (Heather Deck, Pamlico-Tar River Foundation)
June 16, 2016

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Agriculture is big business in North Carolina, and while the farms across the state add to the economy and resources, the waste generated in the form of animal waste and fertilizer runoff has the potential to impact the state's water quality.

For the past 20 years, regulations have been put in place to stabilize the impact, but this month the state Senate passed a plan to eliminate many water quality protections currently in place.

Supporters say the rules should be removed because they haven't succeeded in solving the problem of excess nutrients.

But Tom Bean, a lobbyist for the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, says that's faulty logic.

"It's the opposite of what we need to be doing,” he maintains. “That would be like a diabetic, after 15 or 20 years of controlling his diabetes with insulin, decided it hadn't cured him of diabetes so he's going to stop using them."

The current regulations were put in place following a massive fish kill in 1995 on the Neuse River, after an algae bloom reduced the oxygen in the water to dangerous levels.

The proposed elimination of rules was added to the Senate's budget and would eliminate vegetated buffers along rivers and water quality requirements on impaired waterways such as the Neuse, Tar-Pamlico River Basin, and Catawba River, among others.

Bean calls the current regulations common sense and adds they have been at least maintaining water quality and preventing it from getting worse.

"To do something as irresponsible as to remove regulations that are working is just asking to create a problem, which ultimately will have to be addressed,” he stresses. “Cleanup is always more expensive. Get in contact with legislators and tell them that they oppose lifting the regulations that are in place."

The provision also would delay rules protecting Jordan and Falls lakes, which supply drinking water for more than 700,000 people in the Triangle and provide the opportunity for many thousands of hours of outdoor recreation for swimmers, boaters and fishermen.


Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC