Local News

Faircloth Calls for Pfiesteria Funding

Posted September 25, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— North Carolina Senator Lauch Faircloth is pushing for a concerted research effort into the Pfiesteria problem. A bill unveiled today by Faircloth and other mid-Atlantic senators also calls for grants to study pfiesteria at universities, most notably North Carolina State.

Senator Faircloth is one of many lawmakers right now trying to secure funding for pfiesteria research. Most lawmakers associated with North Carolina and Maryland are getting into the action, coming out publicly to try and get extra money. While they know the topic is popular on Capitol Hill, they also know it's a good time to ask for money.

The effort to combat pfiesteria is moving at high speed, and the latest stop is the nations capital. The house subcommittee on government reform and oversight is questioning officials and researchers from North Carolina and Maryland to find out how both states are handling the problem.

"Pfiesteria was first identified in North Carolina," explained Secretary David Bruton of the NC Department of Environmental Health. "We intend to be a major player in solving this problem."

The feds need information. The states need money. The House has already approved $7 million dollars to study pfiesteria, and leaders from several states are pushing for more.

Representative Mike McIntyre of North Carolina says too often government sticks its hands in business where it doesn't belong. This is a case, McIntyre believes, where government can help and not hinder.

Mary Ann Harrison of the Neuse River Association says her organization has been looking for something like this for years, and it's finally coming about.

Now, with the feds and states working together, real progress is on the way. It's not a moment too soon for North Carolinians worried about the organism's threat to the environment and people.

Photographer:Joe Frieda