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North Carolinians, Candidates Concerned About the Environment

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RALEIGH — As more of you have the chance to recycle, it reflects the concerns many of you have about the environment. That concern is apparent in our Your Voice, Your Vote poll on environmental concerns.

North Carolina was once pristine, but environmental problems have grown; even the mountain air isn't as clean as it used to be.

In our Your Voice, Your Vote poll of 1,000 likely North Carolina voters, 73 percent said they are worried about the environment.

"Oh it's critical. It's a matter of life to us," says Frances Alson, a Raleigh voter." We have to have clean air and clean water to survive on this planet."

In spite of the air quality concerns across the state, North Carolina voters enjoy the wonder of the west to the beauty of the beaches. But there's something in between that's caused problems.

Swine is a major part of the state's economy, but swine also causes major concerns for the state's ecology.

Of those polled, 69 percent said they want hog farmers to be required to use new technology to clean up the waste problem. Only 23 percent hold the farmers responsible.

Should the federal government be the referee?

"If they are held accountable, then they themselves, regulate themselves and develop new technologies to prevent eating into their profits because they did some horrible environmental damage," said Libertarian Candidate Barbara Howe.

New technology to help with the hog waste problem is in the development stage. According to Republican Incumbent Lauch Faircloth, "New technology normally does not come cheap."

Should the federal government give a tax break to farmers working on the technology?

"To state it in simplest terms, I think the people who are making the money ought to be developing the technology," says Democratic Candidate John Edwards.

Faircloth, a major hog farmer in the state, believes the technology will come and the federal government should not pay for it.

Both Faircloth and Edwards believe federal money should be spent to develop mass transit in several North Carolina cities.

"I think mass transit is very important, particularly in urban areas," says Edwards." It is a very important way of dealing with air pollution."

"We can't keep adding lanes. We're running out of time and space," says Faircloth. "Not only that, some of these areas are going to be much more concentrated and viable users of mass transit."

You can read more about the candidates' positions on the environment, and their ideas about government regulations on personal choices, in Sunday's News and Observer.

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David Crabtree, Reporter
Robert Meikle, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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