Local officials call for infrastructure that protects North Carolina’s health and environment

Media Contacts
Josh Chetwynd

Krista Early

As President Biden develops an infrastructure plan, 15 local NC leaders call for investments that protect clean water, public health and create a clean energy future

Environment North Carolina

Raleigh — A group of over 360 local elected officials from across the United States, including North Carolina, called on President Biden and Congress for robust infrastructure funding to make our communities healthier and protect the environment. The national sign-on letter, released Monday by Environment North Carolina highlighted how infrastructure investment could unite a divided country and heal economic wounds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It called for investments — essential to protecting public health and addressing climate change — in five key areas: clean water; transportation; clean energy; nature-based resilience; and solid waste infrastructure.

North Carolina local elected officials understand the need to invest in the kinds of infrastructure that will put our nation’s communities on a visionary and sustainable path. We must invest in infrastructure that makes us healthier and safer, and prioritizes “fix it first” over flashy new structures.

“From the mountains to the sea, North Carolina is home to some of the most diverse natural environments in the United States. We’re proud of the rivers and waterways that make our state one of the most beautiful and attractive mainland tourist destinations in the country. Despite that, our state has yet to make investments in the essential infrastructure needed to sustain these locations,” said Representative Julie von Haefen. “We have known for years that toxic chemicals like PFAS are leaching into waterways and water supplies in local communities across our state. Clean water should not be a luxury. We must act now so that future generations have a chance to grow up safely and in good health, with access to quality drinking water,” noted von Haefen.

The letter is signed by the following North Carolina elected leaders:

Pam Hemminger, Mayor, Chapel Hill

Brian H. Jackson, City Councilmember, Jacksonville

Gale Adcock, State Representative, House District 41 (Raleigh)

Kelly M. Alexander, Jr., State Representative, House District 107 (Croft)

John Autry, State Representative, House District 100 (Charlotte)

Susan C. Fisher, State Representative, House District 114 (Asheville)

Rosa Gill, State Representative, House District 33 (Wake County)

Julie von Haefen, State Representative, House District 36 (Wake County)

Pricey Harrison, State Representative, House District 57 (Guilford County)

Graig Meyer, State Representative, House District 50 (Caswell and Orange Counties)

Evelyn Abrams Terry, State Representative, House District 71 (Forsyth County)

Jay Chaudhuri, State Senator, Senate District 15 (Raleigh, Cary, Garner)

Sarah Crawford, State Senator, Senate District 18 (Franklin and Wake Counties)

Natasha Marcus, State Senator, Senate District 41 (Mecklenburg County)

Julie Mayfield, State Senator, Senate District 49 (Buncombe County)

“We are grateful to these local leaders across our state who are working hard to ensure Congress is investing in a better future for their communities,” said Krista Early, Environment North Carolina’s Clean Water Advocate.

In November, 2020, Environment North Carolina released a report offering a Blueprint for America’s infrastructure plan. The report laid out a vision to bridge political divides through infrastructure investment and offered a roadmap to emerge stronger as a nation after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“North Carolinians are resilient — our infrastructure should be too,” said Early. “Unfortunately, too much of our water is already contaminated with pollutants like PFAS chemicals. We don’t need the added burden of aging infrastructure systems as well. Our existing infrastructure is rigidly built around asphalt and concrete, making communities more vulnerable to flooding and sewage overflows. By investing in nature-based infrastructure, we make our communities more resilient. That makes our communities safer and helps secure a future with clean water and healthy ecosystems. We have seen this success right here in North Carolina, as we stated in our recent report A Path to Cleaner Water.”