North Carolina ranked 4th in U.S. for environmental budget cuts

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WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – New year, new problems. There’s some bad news for the state of North Carolina’s environment.

Over the past decade, a watchdog organization has been reporting on budgeting cuts for environmental agencies throughout the United States.

It recently released information that puts North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality at number four for budgeting cuts.

“The Thin Green Line” is an Environmental Integrity Project, and their work found shocking cut percentages throughout the states.

Over ten years, from 2008 to 2018, the department’s budget decreased by 34%.

This drastic number follows Texas and Louisiana with 35%, and Wisconsin coming in at number one with a whopping 36% environmental budget cut.

An interactive map from the project allows viewers to see statistics on all 50 states’ environmental budgeting cuts.

Along with the top four state budget cuts, the project also found the White House cut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) funding for pollution and science by nearly 16%.

This came with a loss of 2,699 nationwide jobs as well.

In North Carolina, the job loss was 376 over the last decade, even though the state’s budget increased by 8%.

Why are these budget cuts happening?

It seems to be a fault in both political parties.

“On the federal level, cuts to EPA funding happened under both political parties, as well, with the Trump administration eliminating 448 EPA positions between 2017 and 2019, and the Obama administration eliminating 2,139 positions in the prior eight years. From 2008 to 2018, federal funding to EPA enforcement programs also dropped by 17%.”

– Washington Daily News staff, article

These cuts have made it more difficult for North Carolina to protect and keep track of pollution in water and air.

This often affecting local bodies of water, including rivers, lakes, streams, and more.

Even affecting our drinking water.

With all of this shocking news, what can North Carolina residents do?

A Washington Daily News article says people should speak up.

If you want to make sure your air and water quality doesn’t continue declining, the best thing to do is make your voices heard.

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