MEDIA RELEASE: NC’s state tree threatened by budget cuts, spotlighted in new video

NC’s state tree threatened by budget cuts, spotlighted in new video
The weekly videos from Together NC’s Speak NC campaign document how state services create jobs, opportunity, and a higher quality of life for communities
 
RALEIGH (July 19, 2011) – The largest tract of old growth Piedmont longleaf pine is in jeopardy, and the next few years might be our last chance to save it. A new video documents the effort to save the longleaf pines of the Uwharrie region – and explains why state budget cuts make imperil the trees. 
 
Since 1996, the Clean Water Management Trust Fund has helped to conserve natural areas by funding hundreds of land conservation projects. Unfortunately, in 2011, the General Assembly eliminated most of the trust fund’s money and included a provision in the budget that prevents the trust fund from assisting with any land acquisition projects.
 
As with hundreds of conservation projects across the state, the project to protect the longleaf pines of the Uwharrie region is awaiting funding from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. Unfortunately, the NC Legislature eliminated the vast majority of funding for conservation projects in the state budget, leaving the future of the Uwharrie and other pristine areas in question.
 
The Speak NC video, released by the Together NC coalition, is part of a campaign documenting the positive impact of state programs and services on families and communities throughout North Carolina.
The longleaf pine video is available online at: http://www.speaknc.org/longleaf-pine-forest/
 
The video is the seventh in a series produced by Together NC. The videos highlight North Carolina residents who benefit from vital public investments. The videos are available on the new Speak NC website. Speak NC aims to show the human impact of state programs and services that touch thousands of North Carolinians every year.
 
Speak NC creates videos that document how an individual, family, or group of people benefits from various state services. Many of these services face severe cuts based on the state budget.
 
“Missing from our state budget debate was a real sense of how state services impact real people, their families, and communities amidst all the numbers,” said Louisa Warren, a coordinator of Together NC. “Speak NC is about changing that and bringing forth the voices of North Carolinians to speak for themselves about how public investments have enriched their lives and paved the way for economic opportunity.”
 
Together NC invites citizens to watch the stories on Speak NC and share them with friends, family, and local legislators to demonstrate how many of these programs provide crucial aid to families and bolster local economies. 
 
Visit Speak NC at www.speaknc.org 
 
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Together NC is a collection of more than 115 non-profit organizations, service providers, and professional associations who have come together to promote wise choices for shared prosperity for all North Carolinians. For more information, visit 
http://www.togethernc.org/
  
CONTACT: Together NC coordinators: Louisa Warren, (919) 801-0465, louisa@ncjustice.org or Rob Thompson, (919) 649-2449, rob@nccovenant.org