Environment
5:14 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

DENR Refuses Federal Water Quality Grants

Credit Environmental Protection Agency

North Carolina environmental officials have said "no" to a federal grant to check water quality in areas where fracking may occur.  The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources says the money from the EPA would only pay for salaries of people brought in to do testing. 

Division of Water Resources director Tom Reeder says DENR doesn't need them.

"We have other people in the environmental sciences section..whose full-time job it is to go out every day and do measurements like this and try to come up with what's causing the problem," Reeder says.

Environmental groups say money to ensure water safety should not be refused.  Dustin Chicurel-Bayerd is a spokesman for the North Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club.

"It's just good science to do baseline testing up front...and this is exactly the time that our state would benefit from the science and research that these grants are intended to support," says Chicurel-Bayerd.

But DENR says the baseline testing will be done by its people once they know when and where fracking will take place.  A second grant to monitor changes to coastal wetlands was also turned down.