North Carolina has returned a federal grant which would have helped monitor water quality in streams and wetlands that could be impacted by drilling for natural gas.
In an email dated Sept. 3, the state informed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it doesn't need a $222,595 grant for water quality monitoring in areas seen as candidates for hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."
Division of Water Resources director Tom Reeder said the fracking study will be done, but not now and not by the unit that applied for the grant. Reeder said other scientists within the division are equipped to do the work.
Environmental advocates say the department could use the money to make up for cuts lawmakers made in state funding to the department.
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