WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio, covered the story of the state's environmental agency rejecting federal grants to do baseline water testing in the state's triassic basin area.
From the report: North Carolina environmental officials have said "no" to a federal grant to check water quality in areas where fracking may occur. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources says the money from the EPA would only pay for salaries of people brought in to do testing.
As highlighted in today’s Coastal Review article “State Declines $600k in Federal Grants”, the McCrory administration’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources has turned down two 2013 grants for which it applied, and which were awarded to the state by US EPA. The grants, totaling nearly $600,000, were selected for approval in a competitive application process. The EPA grant program is intended to build the capacity of state agency to effectively address water quality challenges.
“This is exactly the time that our state would benefit from the science and research that the grants are intended to support,” said Molly Diggins, state director of the NC Sierra Club.
“The McCrory administration has walked away from funding that would help the state to make sound decisions about fracking and water quality.”
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The director of the state water quality and resources program will address section leadership Wednesday morning about the recent changes the program is going through – including restructuring and possible staff cuts.
At the beginning of August, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources consolidated its Division of Water Quality and Division of Water Resources. The move brought Water Quality under the umbrella of Water Resources.
“Tom Reeder, the (water resources) division director, will be addressing his section chiefs about consolidation of the two divisions,” said Jamie Kritzer, a spokesman for DENR. He was not able to elaborate.
In the coming months, the Division of Water Resources’ leadership will look at what regulations and practices can be trimmed to make the combined program more efficient.
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