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Demonstrators Want State to Get Tough on Polluters

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RALEIGH — Some Tar Heel environmentalists want the state to get tough on polluters, so they're demanding stricter enforcement of existing laws and stiffer penalties in general.

Many of the demonstrators are seniors, and many traveled far to get to Raleigh Thursday. The original plan was to march to the legislative building, didn't but the long trip prevented that.

Those demonstrating at the Capitol had one major point to make. The state already has regulations limiting pollution by big businesses, but the demonstrators say the laws are not being enforced.

People in the group came from all over North Carolina, but their complaints are virtually the same. They say landfills and farm runoff have seriously impacted their ways of life.

"The laws are not being enforced," said Lisa Finaldi, of the Clean Water Fund of N.C. "[The demonstrators] go to the state and talk about the problems that they have. Fines are not being paid. The maximum fines are not being charged against these companies, and their water and their air is polluted, and their communities are no longer safe places to live."

A spokesperson in the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources said there are tens of millions of dollars earmarked for environmental pollution controls in the next budget.

A new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says in 70 percent of all the polluted waterways tested were polluted by agricultural sources.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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