The North Carolina Coastal Federation is reporting that the state's Division of Water Resources has just turned down two federal grants totaling $583,000.
Saying they don’t need the money to meet their new mission, state environmental officials recently turned down almost $600,000 in federal grants. The money would have been used to set up a network of sites to begin testing streams in the Piedmont where natural gas production is likely to occur and to establish a long-term planning and monitoring program to protect wetlands.One grant would have paid state researchers to collect baseline water quality data in the economically depressed central Piedmont region. The other grant would have paid for public employees to plan for and monitor the protection of wetlands.
The grants would have provided valuable outputs, especially given the possibility of natural gas fracking in the central Piedmont and the need to protect sources of water flowing into Jordan Lake. Both grants would have supported the goals of advancing economic development while simultaneously improving the environment.
More prosaically however, both grants would have funded well-paying jobs in a state that needs every job it can get its hands on.
The decisions are also wasteful given that valuable state resources went into the effort to apply for the grants.
But nevermind those considerations. The general economic interest of the state is no match for the narrow special business and political interests of the Governor.
It's little wonder that North Carolina trails the nation in job growth.