Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quick hits: Western North Carolina news and notes

State plans four-lane highway through national forest
"A four-lane highway that would cut through a portion of the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina would have little impact on the ecosystem, according to a new draft environmental impact study by the North Carolina Department of Transportation," according to Environmental News Service.

"Area conservation groups say that conclusion is wrong.

"The 10 mile section of the proposed Corridor K highway would run from Stecoah to Robbinsville in Graham County. NCDOT has not yet released specific dates and deadlines for a public comment period on the draft environmental impact study.

"The groups say the project is 'exorbitantly expensive, would pose a threat to local water quality, wildlife habitat and other natural resources, and would not be the boon to economic development it was conceived to be 40 years ago.' ..."

It's official: It's now Lenoir-Rhyne UNIVERSITY
"Red and black balloons lined Stasavich Place and pop music played over loudspeakers as crowds of students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members gathered to celebrate Lenoir-Rhyne's transformation from a college to a university Saturday morning," according to the Hickory Daily Record.

"The celebration recognized Lenoir-Rhyne's 117-year journey as young people lounged on grassy hills under shade trees to listen to university and community leaders who spoke in praise of the school's journey. ..."

Poverty rates up in Appalachian region
"The share of Appalachians living in poverty last year increased by 114,000 to 13.3 million, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Tuesday.

"But there was good news in the numbers," said the Associated Press. "Median incomes were up in all the 13 states that make up Appalachia except Kentucky, where the median income was $39,678. However, with the exception of Maryland and Virginia, those incomes across Appalachia still were below the national median of $50,233. ...

"Appalachia includes all of West Virginia and parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. ..."


Tom Hoffman said...

I am glad to see the Corridor K controversy getting some media attention outside the immediate area that it would impact in far western North Carolina.

Don't believe NCDOT's claim that this highway would have "little impact on the ecosystem." As planned, the road would be a massive, four lane freeway through a very sensitive enviornment. It would adversely affect air and water quality, continuity of forest lands, wildlife habitat and the Appalachian Trail.

This highway would also be incredibly expensive. There is no justification for it at a time when state and national budgets are strained. And truck traffic is being switched to rail due to the spike in fuel prices. Gas prices may be down this month, but they'll be going back up due to the forces of global supply and demand. So there is even less justification for a road project this big.

There is organized opposition to Corridor K and Interstate 3, which would share part of its route in western NC. Persons and organizations interested in fighting these projects should contact Holly Demuth, executive director of the Stop I-3 Coalition. Her email is holly@stopi-3.org

M. Lail said...

Tom, thanks for the feedback!