North Carolina - Environmental protection



State actions to safeguard the environment began in 1915 with the purchase of the summit of Mt. Mitchell as North Carolina's first state park. North Carolina's citizens and officials worked actively (along with those in Tennessee) to establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during the 1920s, the same decade that saw the establishment of the first state agency for wildlife conservation. In 1937, a state and local program of soil and water conservation districts began to halt erosion and waste of natural resources.

Interest in environmental protection intensified during the 1970s. In 1971, the state required its own agencies to submit environmental impact statements in connection with all major project proposals; it also empowered local governments to require such statements from major private developers. Voters approved a $150 million bond issue in 1972 to assist in the construction of wastewater treatment facilities by local governments. The Coastal Management Act of 1974 mandated comprehensive land-use planning for estuaries, wetlands, beaches, and adjacent areas of environmental concern. The most controversial environmental action occurred mid-decade, when a coalition of state officials, local residents, and national environmental groups fought the proposed construction of a dam that would have flooded the New River Valley in northwestern North Carolina. Congress quashed the project when it designated the stream as a national scenic river in 1976.

Air quality in most of North Carolina's eight air-quality-control regions is good, although the industrialized areas of the piedmont and mountains experience pollution from vehicle exhausts and coal-fired electric generating plants. Water quality ranges from extraordinary purity in numerous mountain trout streams to serious pollution in major rivers and coastal waters. Soil erosion and municipal and industrial waste discharges have drastically increased the level of dissolved solids in some piedmont streams, while runoffs from livestock pastures and nitrates leached from fertilized farmland have overstimulated the growth of algae in slow-moving eastern rivers. Pollution also has made certain areas of the coast unsafe for commercial shellfishing. About 5.7 million acres (2.3 million hectares) of the state are wetlands; since 1997 the North Carolina Wetlands Partnership has overseen wetlands conservation. About 70% of North Carolina's rare and endangered plants and animals are considered wetland-dependent.

The Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources, the state's main environmental agency, issues licenses to industries and municipalities and seeks to enforce clean air and water regulations. In 2003, North Carolina had 311 hazardous waste sites listed in the Environmental Protection Agency's database, 28 of which were on the National Priorities List. In 2001, North Carolina received $99,797,000 in federal grants from the Environmental Protection Agency; EPA expenditures for

North Carolina
North Carolina Counties, County Seats, and County Areas and Populations
North Carolina Counties, County Seats, and County Areas and Populations

North Carolina Counties, County Seats, and County Areas and Populations

COUNTY COUNTY SEAT LAND AREA (SQ MI) POPULATION (2002 EST.) COUNTY COUNTY SEAT LAND AREA (SQ MI) POPULATION (2002 EST.)
Alamance Graham 433 135,893 Jones Trenton 470 10,259
Alexander Taylorsville 259 34,400 Lee Sanford 259 49,521
Allegheny Sparta 234 10,837 Lenoir Kinston 402 59,073
Anson Wadesboro 533 25,351 Lincoln Lincolnton 298 66,598
Ashe Jefferson 426 24,796 Macon Franklin 517 30,752
Avery Newland 247 17,610 Madison Marshall 451 20,004
Beaufort Washington 826 45,571 Martin Williamston 461 25,062
Bertie Windsor 701 19,697 McDowell Marion 437 42,880
Bladen Elizabethtown 879 32,509 Mecklenburg Charlotte 528 737,950
Brunswick Bolivia 861 78,567 Mitchell Bakersville 222 15,844
Buncombe Asheville 659 211,201 Montgomery Troy 490 27,288
Burke Morganton 505 29,638 Moore Carthage 701 78,191
Cabarrus Concord 364 140,182 Nash Nashville 540 89,286
Caldwell Lenoir 471 78,513 New Hanover Wilmington 185 165,712
Camden Camden 241 7,456 Northampton Jackson 538 21,803
Carteret Beaufort 525 60,232 Onslow Jacksonville 763 149,003
Caswell Yanceyville 427 23,555 Orange Hillsborough 400 120,458
Catawba Newton 396 146,690 Pamlico Bayboro 341 12,882
Chatham Pittsboro 708 53,893 Pasquotank Elizabeth City 228 35,445
Cherokee Murphy 452 24,869 Pender Burgaw 875 42,734
Chowan Edenton 181 14,525 Perquimans Hertford 246 11,486
Clay Hayesville 214 9,186 Person Roxboro 398 36,610
Cleveland Shelby 468 97,960 Pitt Greenville 656 137,240
Columbus Whiteville 939 54,930 Polk Columbus 238 18,845
Craven New Bern 702 91,926 Randolph Asheboro 789 134,217
Cumberland Fayetteville 657 303,328 Richmond Rockingham 477 46,841
Currituck Currituck 256 19,623 Robeson Lumberton 949 125,351
Dare Manteo 391 32,106 Rockingham Wentworth 569 92,778
Davidson Lexington 548 151,238 Rowan Salisbury 519 133,359
DAvie Mocksville 267 36,734 Rutherford Rutherfordton 568 63,287
Duplin Kenansville 819 50,800 Sampson Clinton 947 61,256
Durham Durham 298 234,199 Scotland Laurinburg 319 36,109
Edgecombe Tarboro 506 55,007 Stanly Albemarle 396 58,553
Forsyth Winston-Salem 412 314,933 Stokes Danbury 452 44,984
Franklin Louisburg 494 50,449 Surry Dobson 539 72,211
Gaston Gastonia 357 193,443 Swain Bryson City 526 13,137
Gates Gatesville 338 10,635 Transylvania Brevard 378 29,499
Graham Robbinsville 289 8,045 Tyrrell Columbia 407 4,193
Granville Oxford 534 50,946 Union Monroe 639 139,611
Greene Snow Hill 266 19,416 Vance Henderson 249 44,348
Guilford Greensboro 651 430,937 Wake Raleigh 854 675,518
Halifax Halifax 724 56,606 Warren Warrenton 427 19,914
Harnett Lillington 601 97,045 Washington Plymouth 332 13,526
Haywood Waynesville 555 54,831 Watauga Boone 314 42,857
Henderson Hendersonville 375 92,526 Wayne Goldsboro 554 112,954
Hertford Winton 356 22,037 Wilkes Wilkesboro 752 66,773
Hoke Racford 391 36,032 Wilson Wilson 374 74,942
Hyde Swanquarter 624 5,702 Yadkin Yadkinville 336 37,329
Iredell Statesville 574 130,178 Yancey Burnsville 314 17,959
Jackson Sylva 490 33,763     ———— —————
Johnston Smithfield 795 133,159   TOTALS 48,843 8,320,146

procurement contracts in North Carolina that year amounted to $100,928,000.



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