On the eve of Earth Day, two of N.C.'s Democratic congressmen joined environmental advocates to call attention to what they say are GOP attempts to gut environmental regulations.
Democratic Congressmen David Price (NC-4) and Brad Miller (NC-13) came to the legislature Thursday, the same day the Joint Regulatory Reform committee held a public hearing in the building.
GOP leaders say the state's environmental regulations are out of control, delaying business growth and discouraging new businesses from coming to North Carolina. They say easing the state's sometimes complex environmental rules will encourage economic growth.
Democrats say there's no truth to that.
"Rolling back environmental protection isn't going to create a single job," Price said at the press conference for Environment N.C.
Price said environmental rules for clean air and water have prevented "hundreds of thousands of premature deaths per year, and saved the United States trillions in healthcare costs."
Price says N.C. Republican leaders want to eliminate the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources. "This is a call to action. People need to make their voices heard."
Rep. Brad Miller talked about current lawsuits over contaminated wells at Camp Lejeune. "We know there are serious consequences to letting folks do whatever they want to do to make as much money as they can," he said.
Before the passage of the state's Clean Smokestacks Act in 1996, Miller said, "40% of eighth graders in North Carolina's urban areas had symptoms of asthma."
Watch the full press conference at right.