Preserving Natural Heritage by Mitigating Budget Rollbacks
As we begin to emerge from the worst economic recession in several decades, we must continue to value North Carolina’s unique natural heritage.
This heritage is now threatened by budget rollbacks. State services vital to land conservation efforts including Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, soil testing services, the Land Loss Policy Project, and agricultural cost-sharing funds have all been significantly defunded or removed from the budget entirely. North Carolina’s waterways also stand to lose from budget rollbacks. A new policy restricts the Clean Water Management Trust Fund from acquiring land—one of the most effective ways to preserve water quality. Resources devoted to sound management of fisheries as well as the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund have been targeted for removal in the next state budget.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) budget was disproportionately slashed by the General Assembly last year. Sweeping reforms included in the budget cut staff critical to monitoring air and water pollution, issuing permits, and enforcing rules that protect public health, as well as limiting North Carolina protective standards.
These protections, the budget to enforce those protections, and the benefits afforded by strong land conservation initiatives are critical to our economy. North Carolina has been consistently rated one of the best places to live and do business in no small part due to our state’s consistent effort to maintain and protect our cultural and natural heritage. We are committed to defending this long-standing heritage from the current wave of short-sighted anti-conservation sentiment now threatening to upend our proud tradition of strong environmental stewardship.