RALEIGH, N.C. — A group critical of North Carolina state government environmental policies headed to downtown Raleigh Friday morning to let its feelings be known.
Members of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network rallied near the Legislative Building and walked to the headquarters of the state Department of Environmental and Natural Resources nearby.
The network calls the event a "rally to end environmental racism" and alleges state policies and permits allow industries to pollute without regard to the health of residents or their property values.
The group has recently questioned why lawmakers turned down about $500,000 in federal money to conduct water tests. The money would have paid for water testing in and around the area where fracking is expected to start in 2015.
In an email dated Sept. 3, the state informed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it does not need a $222,595 grant for water quality monitoring in areas seen as candidates for hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," a method of natural gas drilling that has spurred environmental concerns in other states.
Tom Reeder, director of the state Division of Water Resources, defends the decision to turn down the funds.
"We're in very good financial conditions. Nobody has to worry about that," he said. "When you want us to do a study, we'll be happy to do a study."
The rally and march coincide with the network's 15th annual Environmental Justice Summit being held in Whitakers.