Riverkeepers lobby for clean water at Capitol

Environmental, Legislative, Sound Rivers

Posted on March 30th, 2023

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell stands outside the state legislature building in Raleigh on Wednesday.

Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop and Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell were in the state capital this week, lobbying legislators to discuss priorities and take action on some clean-water measures.

“We talked about the governor’s budget and some of good things in there, including funding for the Department of Environmental Quality, and I know that Sam talked to some of her representatives about the Swine Buyout Program,” Jill said.

The lobbying day followed a meeting of Riverkeepers across the state, all part of Waterkeepers Carolina. Held at the Walnut Creek Wetland Center, Riverkeepers caught up on the campaigns they’re working on together, such as determining the prevalence of PFAS and microplastics in North Carolina’s waterways, along with the corresponding Trash Trout programs. Riverkeepers from the eastern part of the state broke off to talk about a major polluter in Down East waterways: swine CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations).

Armed with information from the annual meeting, the Riverkeepers shared the information the next day with their legislators.

“It’s important for our representatives and senators to know who we are and know there are people watching the environmental stuff,” Jill said. “It’s important for them to hear multiple voices across the state pushing for the same bills and the same priorities in the budget — what gets funded and what doesn’t. … It’s also good to let them know that we’re here as a resource if they have questions about anything going on with the rivers in their districts.”

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