A bill that passed last week in the state Legislature sets aside money to clean up pollution spills and allocates $100,000 to MountainTrue's water quality testing on the French Broad, as well as other rivers and streams in Western North Carolina, state Sen. Chuck Edwards announced.
"We continue to invest in our families, our economy, our environment, and our natural and cultural resources," Edwards said. "As a first-year Appropriations chairman, I was fortunate to have been in a position to continue supporting our environment through these important appropriations. Protecting our clean water is not only the right thing to do but vital to the economy of our mountains."
During the legislative short session, the General Assembly continued its 2020-2021 budgeting process through smaller, targeted appropriations bills addressing specific issues, funding obligations, programs and allocating federal CARES Act funds received by the state. House Bill 1087 was one of those targeted funding bills for local water infrastructure systems and projects.
As co-chair of the Appropriations on Agriculture, Natural, and Economic Resources Committee, Senator Edwards ensured the final conference report included two provisions initially contained in the state budget passed by the General Assembly. The bill appropriates $200,000 to assist the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to respond to pollution spills and contained the MountainTrue funding. The bill also appropriates $9 million from the One NC Fund to the newly established Viable Utility Reserve. The funds will be used to provide grants to distressed water infrastructure systems, assessments, inventories or projects.