There's little argument that North Carolina
needs to act swiftly to protect its natural resources.
Shellfishing grounds are shrinking due to pollution. Development
is taking over acres of timberland and farm fields every day.
The question is where conservation will fall in the state's
hierarchy of need when lawmakers consider doling out dollars in the
Wary of taking on new debt, the Legislature declined last year
to act on a proposed billion-dollar bond package to buy and
preserve land and historic sites across the state.
Instead, it created a commission to study ways to finance and
set priorities for conservation efforts. It's due to make its
report late this month.
But people with competing interests are preparing their
arguments as well. Water and sewer infrastructure, transportation,
schools and affordable housing projects also need more money as
demand in those areas grows.