General Assembly guts key protections

The Blue Ridge Parkway brings millions of visitors to Mt. Mitchell, Looking Glass Falls and some of the country's most beautiful vistas. But in the last two years, the General Assembly has cut critical preservation funds in half, and questioned the future of the state’s largest conservation program—the Clean Water Fund.

At stake: breathtaking Parkway views

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway feels like a trip through a national park, just what its creators intended 75 years ago. We have state conservation efforts partially to thank for the incredible views — since 1986, the state has preserved vulnerable land for future generations.

But this legacy is at risk: Two-thirds of the land that surrounds the Parkway is vulnerable to logging, poorly-planned development and other harms. With state preservation funds run nearly dry, priceless landscapes hang in the balance.

A legacy on hold

North Carolina has a long-standing history of preserving treasured landscapes for present and future generations to use and enjoy. In 2007 and 2008, your activism and our advocacy helped win unprecedented funding increases for preservation programs, which created Grandather Mountain State Park, Chimney Rock State Park and others.

When the General Assembly slashed preservation funds last year, they put that legacy on hold. Worse, they included a special provision in the budget to prevent the state from acquiring threatened land along the Parkway.

Together, we can save the Blue Ridge Parkway

Our staff knocked on doors across the state to educate Tar Heels about what's at stake and helped convince lawmakers to remove restrictions on land conservation.

With our partners, we’ve also conducted research, showing that we’ve already preserved more than 13,000 acres along the Parkway and other scenic byways, and need to preserve another 20,000 in the next five years.

But the real key to winning this fight is you. If enough of us speak out, we can restore our open space programs in the General Assembly and in Congress and put them to work protecting our stunning Blue Ridge scenery.

Join our campaign, and urge your leaders to save the Blue Ridge, by clicking here.


Preservation updates

News Release | Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center

Lessons for NC coast to learn as Gulf communities still suffer five years later

Raleigh, NC – Gulf communities and wildlife are still reeling from the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to "Deepwater Horizon: An Ongoing Environmental Disaster,” a factsheet released by the Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center. Today marks the five-year anniversary of the disaster, when a British Petroleum oil rig exploded and spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The leak continued for 87 days, when emergency workers were finally able to cap the well.

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Report | Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center

Deepwater Horizon: An Ongoing Environmental Disaster

The BP Deepwater Horizon blowout took a massive toll on our environment and the region’s wildlife and communities. For three months after the initial explosion, millions of gallons of crude oil and thousands of tons of methane spewed from the sea floor. Eleven people were killed and dozens more injured. Five years later, we are still suffering from the effects.

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News Release | Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center

Outer Banks communities tell feds: Don’t drill off our coast

Kill Devil Hills, NC –Three Outer Banks mayors joined business leaders and more than 600 community members at a public hearing Monday to voice their opposition to drilling off North Carolina’s coast The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which is responsible for managing offshore energy development in federal waters, organized the hearing in Kill Devil Hills.

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News Release | Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center

Citizens tell BOEM: Offshore drilling poses huge risks to NC coast

Wrightsville Beach, NC – Despite a winter storm, hundreds of North Carolinians attended a public hearing on Tuesday to voice their opposition to the Obama Administration’s plan to open up the entire North Carolina coast to offshore drilling. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which is responsible for managing offshore energy development in federal waters, organized the hearing.

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News Release | Environment North Carolina

Congressional Budget Helps the Blue Ridge Parkway, Restores Parks Funding

Raleigh, NC-This week, U.S. House and Senate appropriators set funding levels for agencies like the National Park Service and finalized a comprehensive budget agreement.

Environment North Carolina’s Liz Kazal offered the following statement:

 

“I applaud U.S. House and Senate appropriators for their work on a budget that does much to protect North Carolina’s wild places and our water and air.

> Keep Reading

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