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Attorney General Josh Stein Announces More Than $500,000 in Environmental Grants in Bladen, New Hanover, Pender, and Robeson Counties

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced $542,021 in grants to protect and improve the environment in Bladen, New Hanover, Pender, and Robeson Counties through the Environmental Enhancement Grant (EEG) program. Across the state, Attorney General Stein will award nearly $3 million in grants to 22 grantees. That includes 10 construction projects; five planning, research and education projects; three land acquisition projects; and four small grants.

Awards include:

Bladen County

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will receive $250,000 to educate commercial agricultural producers about and implement conservation farming techniques, including field buffers, native plantings, prescribed burn, and restoration of longleaf pine savannas.

“The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will use these funds to do important work with commercial farmers,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “As a result, habitats will be preserved and conservation efforts in our state will be strengthened.”

“The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is honored to have received a 2020 Environmental Enhancement Grant to support the Corporate CURE (Cooperative Upland habitat Restoration and Enhancement) Program,” said Benjy Strope, CURE/SEFA Management Biologist. “Funding will allow us to maintain and develop early successional habitat on lands owned by commercial agricultural producers. This management benefits water quality and numerous game and non-game species, particularly those of greatest conservation need.”

Bladen, New Hanover, and Pender Counties

NC State University will receive $242,021 to identify and study PFAS in swine sludge to determine the chemicals’ risk to fields in the Cape Fear Watershed.

“I am extremely concerned about the impacts of forever chemicals like PFAS in our environment,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I am pleased to award these funds to further research into all of the impacts PFAS are having on our environment. Until we know all the consequences of these chemicals, we will be unable to fully clean up the mess.”

Brunswick County

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina will receive $50,000 to restore living shoreline at Fort Caswell. Doing so will improve and stabilize oyster reefs and replant marshes. The project also includes an educational component.

“Fort Caswell sits on some of North Carolina’s most beautiful coastline – and the economic activity it brings is a boon to the area,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I am pleased to provide these funds to protect and preserve our state’s valuable natural resources.”

Robeson County

The City of Lumberton will receive $250,000 to purchase and rehabilitate the Scottish Meatpacking property, including removing 9,600 square feet of impervious surface, installing a boat ramp, and stabilizing the shoreline.

“This exciting project is a shot in the arm to Lumberton, which has suffered as a result of recent Hurricanes Matthew and Florence,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I am excited to see how improving this site fosters community engagement, activity, and education.”

“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Attorney General Stein for the Environmental Enhancement Grant award of $250,000 to the City of Lumberton,” said Mayor Bruce W. Davis. “These generous funds will no doubt facilitate continued recovery in South Lumberton following Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, by helping to create a scenic area for community gathering, environmental education, and enhanced access to the Lumber River.”

Statewide Projects

Waterkeepers North Carolina will receive $188,000 to research microplastic pollution in 30 streams and rivers, identify types of microplastics, and estimate loading rates from stormwater.

“It is critically important that we do everything we can to address pollution in our invaluable water sources,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I appreciate the work Waterkeepers North Carolina does to do just that, and I am pleased to provide them with this additional funding.”

UNC Charlotte will receive $101,792 to research whether biosolid land application contributes to PFAS occurrence in surface water, groundwater, and soil statewide.

“I am extremely concerned about the presence of forever chemicals like PFAS in our drinking water,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I am suing DuPont over its role in polluting our water with PFAS. I am pleased to be supporting this work that will help inform our state’s efforts to clean up the mess these dangerous chemicals have created.”

“PFAS contamination has caused widespread health concerns among our residents in NC,” said Mei Sun, Assistant Professor and Lead Researcher at UNC Charlotte. “This project is to provide information to policymakers, water engineers, and community stakeholders to better understand if biosolids land application will contribute PFAS to our precious water resources, improve PFAS exposure assessment, and guide sustainable applications of biosolids in affected areas.”

About the EEG Program

These funds are distributed through the Environmental Enhancement Grant (EEG) program, which began after an agreement between the Attorney General’s Office and Smithfield Foods in 2000. Under that agreement, Smithfield provides the Department of Justice $2 million each year for environmental projects across the state.

Due to ongoing litigation, this year’s is the second grant cycle since 2016. This grant cycle includes the distribution of nearly $3 million to 22 grantees. Earlier in 2020, Attorney General Stein distributed more than $3.5 million to 27 grantees.

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