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Attorney General Josh Stein Announces More than $366,000 in Environmental Grants in Western North Carolina

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, October 26, 2023

Contact:
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced $366,400 in three Environmental Enhancement Grants (EEGs) to protect North Carolina’s air, water, and natural resources in western North Carolina. In 2023, Attorney General Stein is awarding $2.3 million in EEGs to 18 recipients throughout North Carolina.

Mainspring Conservation Trust

The Mainspring Conservation Trust will receive $175,000 to clean up and restore a brownfield site in Franklin close to a prehistoric Cherokee platform mound and the Little Tennessee River.

“It is important to preserve North Carolina’s history and places of cultural significance,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m grateful that this grant will help restore land and water that carries so much meaning for the Cherokee and for our state.”

“We are so grateful for this award from the NCDOJ EEG program. The funding will allow Mainspring to remediate petroleum-contaminated soils on a vacant gravel lot prominently located in downtown Franklin,” said Jordan Smith, Executive Director of Mainspring Conservation Trust. “This area is in the heart of the ancient Cherokee townsite of Nikwasi and the modern-day river district of Franklin. Eliminating the source of contamination to both the groundwater under the site and the surface waters of the Little Tennessee River will set the stage for the development of additional greenspace and enhance access to adjacent public art displays designed to welcome visitors and tell the story of Southern Appalachia.”

City of Morganton

The city of Morganton will receive $150,000 to restore water quality in and around Bethel Park and put in place measures to help prevent flooding and erosion.

“Every community needs access to clean water to thrive,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m grateful to the city of Morganton for focusing on communities that have been ignored for far too long and taking action to protect rivers and neighborhoods for the future.”

“The City of Morganton greatly appreciates the award of $150,000 from the Attorney General’s Environmental Enhancement Grant Program,” said Morganton Mayor Ronnie Thompson. “These grant monies allow us to continue with the stream restoration projects at our local Bethel Park. Restoration of these impaired streams will not only aid in supporting cleaner water, but it will limit flooding and provide improved park access for our citizens which contributes to healthy lifestyles. We appreciate the grant review committee recognizing the importance of improving water quality and supporting the betterment of our great city.”

Town of Boone

The Town of Boone will receive $41,400 to restore water quality, improve aquatic habitats, and create more public access and greenway areas along 1,620 linear feet of rivers.

“I’m grateful to the town of Boone for their hard work to improve their residents’ environment and drinking water,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m hopeful that this grant and the project it funds will go a long way to helping Boone thrive in the decades to come.”

“The Town of Boone is grateful that NC’s Attorney General selected the South Fork Confluence restoration project for funding. Preserving good water quality in our streams is important to Boone,” said Boone Mayor Tim Futrelle. “This project will not only improve a degraded stream, it will also protect Boone’s water supply and enhance and secure Boone’s heavily used Greenway Trail.”

About the Environmental Enhancement Grant Program

The North Carolina Department of Justice’s Environmental Enhancement Grant program began after a 2000 agreement between the Attorney General’s Office and Smithfield Foods. Under that agreement, Smithfield provides $2 million to the state every year to be distributed among environmental projects across North Carolina. Including the 2023 grants, the Attorney General’s office has awarded nearly $43 million to more than 228 projects in the state. More information is available at https://ncdoj.gov/protecting-the-environment/eeg/.

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