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Legislators Hold Public Hearing on Clean Water Bill

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RALEIGH — North Carolina lawmakers are trying to push ahuge water quality bill into law. The plan would add a long list newcontrols over hog farms, golf courses and private citizens, among others.A public hearing on the issue was held Thursday morning in Raleigh. It wasa first step in getting reaction to the proposed legislation.

It's called House Bill 15 and it includes a 2-year moratorium on hogoperation expansion, controlling fertilizer run-off from golf courses andcontrolling nitrogen discharge from sewage treatment plants.

The bill hassupport, but there are also some groups that would like to see some minorchanges in it. That contingent is comprised mostly of those within the hogand golf course industries. But those who live near hog operations say thebill doesn't go far enough. Homeowner Jim Pridger said he knows someonewho's home is actually sprayed with hog waste at times.

While both sides were represented at the Thursday meeting, there wereno fireworks. The majority of comments about the proposed legislation,especially those from environmentalists, were positive. Bill Holman ofthe NC Conservation Council said his organization feels Bill 15 is a stepin the right direction.

The Senate Agricultural Committee is taking into consideration all ofthe comments from the hearing. They continue to fine-tune the bill and arelooking at how the legislation would be funded. They say it could come upfor a final vote as early as next week.

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