North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Budget Cut

Silencing Science Tracker

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Budget Cut

On April 10, 2018, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper requested that the state legislature approve nearly $15 million in additional funding for environmental and public health departments. Governor Cooper indicated that much of the funding would be used to address water contamination. His administration requested $2.6 million for public health and water monitoring efforts, which would be used (in part) to employ an additional 50 people, including a number of scientists, to collect and test water samples. The legislature did not, however, act on that request.

In the state budget for fiscal year 2018-19, adopted on June 22, 2018, the North Carolina legislature reduced funding for the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) by $1.8 million. This follows several years of large cuts in the DEQ’s budget, which have reportedly forced it to lay off staff. According to a report in the North Carolina News and Observer:

“Between 2009 and 2016, both the Water Supply Protection division of DEQ and the agency’s seven regional offices have lost about a third of their employees. Water Supply Protection’s staffing dropped from 92 to 65 full-time equivalents, and the field offices’ staffing dropped from 73 to 50.”

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