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Attorney General Josh Stein Announces More than $540,000 in Environmental Grants in Eastern North Carolina

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, October 26, 2023

Contact:
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced $549,798 in four Environmental Enhancement Grants (EEGs) to protect North Carolina’s air, water, and natural resources in eastern North Carolina. In 2023, Attorney General Stein is awarding $2.3 million in EEGs to 18 recipients throughout North Carolina.

Craven County Solid Waste

The Craven County Department of Solid Waste and Recycling will receive $200,000 to stabilize shorelines and reinforce swales in the county to help prevent erosion.

“We’ve seen all too often the damage that flooding and erosion cause the homes and habitats in eastern North Carolina,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m pleased that this grant will help the people of Craven County prepare for and stay safe during storms.”

“Craven County is very grateful to receive funding through the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office Environmental Enhancement Grant Program to construct a living shoreline at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers in New Bern,” said Chad Strawn, Craven County planning and community development director. “This living shoreline will protect critical water and road infrastructure that is highly susceptible to erosion, wind tides, and storm surge. The introduction of this living shoreline will prevent future road compromise or failure like we experienced during Hurricane Florence in 2018. From this highly traveled route, we will showcase to the public the positive effects of natural shoreline stabilization while enhancing the environment through newly created wetlands.”

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University will receive $176,391 to study how to improve farm management of manure and flood risks in eastern North Carolina.

“North Carolina’s farmers are the backbone of our economy and help us feed our families,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “This grant will help them make the best decisions to ensure their farmlands stay healthy even as the climate changes.”

“This project aims to minimize impacts of climate variability on NC swine farms,” said Dr. Mahmoud Sharara, the principal researcher on the project. “To that goal, the project team will develop and make available a farm simulation tool to guide swine producers on optimal effluent management strategies to optimize nutrient use and reduce the risk of extreme weather events on lagoon stability.”

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch will receive $128,751 to study whether farm-raised and wild-caught oyster populations in the White Oak River Basin are contaminated with PFAS, dangerous toxic chemicals that are harmful to health and do not degrade in the environment.

“I’m fighting to hold accountable the companies that polluted our air and water with dangerous forever chemicals,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “But more research only strengthens our understanding of the harm that’s already been done. I’m grateful to the Coastal Carolina Riverwatch for studying PFAS closely.”

“Coastal Carolina Riverwatch (CCRW) staff and partners are grateful for this funding that will help us conduct crucial research on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and heavy metal levels in wild and farm-raised oysters,” said Coastal Carolina Riverwatch Executive Director Lisa Rider. “This project aims to reveal the impact of these industrial pollutants on coastal fisheries. The data obtained is pivotal for understanding the environmental consequences of these pollutants and will help us promote restoration and policy improvements through future planning and advocacy efforts. CCRW highly values the NC Environmental Enhancement Grant (EEG) Program, considering it essential for assessing pollution in local water bodies. This financial support greatly advances public knowledge of pollutants, promotes consumer safety, and urges effective pollution reduction measures in the State of North Carolina. It underscores the urgency of addressing pollution for both ecosystem health and public well-being, aligning with the goals of the NC EEG program.”

East Carolina University

East Carolina University will receive $44,656 to help local governments with largely underserved communities better develop and act on sustainability, resiliency, and recovery plans.

“Eastern North Carolina has taken it on the chin in recent hurricane seasons,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “This grant will help make small communities in the east more resilient to the challenges they face now and in the years to come.”

“Eastern North Carolina is a diverse and growing region, but it is one that also faces a number of environmental challenges including flooding and sea level rise,” said Dr. Alethia Cook, Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science, East Carolina University. “This project will aid communities to comprehensively develop resiliency plans that address a combination of air, water, and land quality concerns.”

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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