Tag Archives: UNC Exceptions to Minimum (Non-Major) Criteria

Contact Information for NCSU and State Officials

Dr Mary Watzin
College Of Natural Resources-Deans Office
Dean – Natural Resources
Biltmore Hall (And Robertson Win 2028H, Box 8001
NCSU Campus
Raleigh, NC 27695

Ms. Julia Brooks, Executive Assistant to the Dean
phone: 919.513.0152
fax: 919.513.7231
julia_brooks@ncsu.edu

Dean Watzin says deed restrictions are not commonly implemented through sales contracts and the University has assurances from the buyer regarding land use after the sale (WRAL interview). If you’ve ever bought property, you probably know better than Dean Watzin that sales contracts are one of the primary means for a seller to place restrictions on future land use by the buyer. Subdivision covenants are probably the most common example of deed restrictions implemented through sales contracts. The University could have restricted future land use on Hofmann Forest through the sales contract, but did not. Assurances = No protection for the Forest.

Dr. William Randolph Woodson
“Randy”
Chancellors Office and Staff
Chancellor
Box 7001
NCSU Campus
Raleigh, NC 27695
Phone: 919-515-2191
Fax: 919-515-7740
Email: randy_woodson@ncsu.edu

 

Chancellor Woodson is one of two people who can force an Environmental Assessment to be performed under UNC System SEPA Policy. He says the sale of Hofmann is for the benefit of the students, but it is hard to imagine how trading the tangible and intangible benefits of having the only research forest of its type in the world for a few quick bucks makes sense for the students of NCSU in the long-term. It was wrong for Duke Forest and public outcry caused the sale of Duke Forest to be dropped like a hot potato. Help make Chancellor Woodson understand that the sale of Hofmann Forest is just as wrong in principle as was the attempted sale of Duke Forest. The biggest difference is the relative affluence and magnitude of the population immediately affected.

Thomas W. Ross
President
University of North Carolina
910 Raleigh Rd.
P.O. Box 2688
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
He received the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award (1993), the National Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (1999), and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine (1999). President Ross, despite his denials to letter writers, has the authority to force an Environmental Assessment of the Hofmann Forest sale under UNC System SEPA Policy.

Roy Cooper
NC Attorney General
9001 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001

919-716-6400
rcooper@ncdoj.gov

Please let Roy Cooper know he is on the wrong side of the issue by using public funds to defend the supposedly private sale of Hofmann Forest by the NCSU Endowment Fund. He should instead be defending the NC Constitution and State Laws and Rules.

Roy Cooper for Governor (Political Campaign)
PO Box 10587
Raleigh NC 27605
Fax: (919) 821-3768
info@roycooper.com
Roy Cooper wants to be governor and wants to portray himself as environmentally friendly. While it is his responsibility to defend the University in his role as Attorney General, it is also his responsibility as the State’s top law enforcement officer to ensure that the NC Constitution and State Laws and Rules are followed. Please let him and his campaign know he is on the wrong side of this issue. Selling the largest state-owned property into private hands for development is not environmentally friendly. It is an environmental disaster.

Gerard S. McNeill
Advancement Services
Director, Alumni & Donor Records
Joyner Visitor Center 225, Box 7474
NCSU Campus
Raleigh, NC 27695
Phone: 919-515-8399
Fax: 919-513-2406
Email: gerard_mcneill@ncsu.edu
Web Site: http://www.ncsu.edu/advancement-services

 

Julius Hofmann probably wouldn’t be too keen on the idea of the University selling his namesake, world-class research forest, for a quick buck. If the University can sell Hofmann Forest, clearly against Julius Hofmann’s intent, what assurance do you have that the University will respect your wishes?

Mr. Benjamin P. Jenkins, III
Member, NCSU Board of Trustees
316 Colville Road
Charlotte, NC 28207
ben_jenkins@bellsouth.net

Mr. Thomas E. Cabaniss
Member, NCSU Board of Trustees
1404 Sauer Avenue
Richmond, VA 23230-3845
tcabaniss@mcguirewoods.com

Mr. Jimmy D. Clark
Member, NCSU Board of Trustees
Guy M. Turner, Inc.
P.O. Box 7776
Greensboro, NC 27417
jclark@guymturner.com

Ms. Gayle S. Lanier
Member, NCSU Board of Trustees
1932 Olde Mill Forrest Drive
Raleigh, NC 27606
gayle.lanier@duke-energy.com

Mr. Robert L. Mattocks II
Member, NCSU Board of Trustees
232 Craven Street
New Bern, NC 28560
bobmattocks@williamsenergygroup.com

Ms. Barbara H. Mulkey
Member, NCSU Board of Trustees
P.O. Box 33127
Raleigh, NC 27636-3127
bmulkey@mulkeyinc.com

Mr. Wendell H. Murphy
Member, NCSU Board of Trustees
P.O. Box 280
Rose Hill, NC 28458
dmerritt@murfam.co

Dr. James W. Owens
Member, NCSU Board of Trustees
300 Hamilton Blvd., Suite 202
Peoria, IL 61629-2850
jwowens1@gmail.com

Dr. Ronald W. Prestage
Member, NCSU Board of Trustees
180 Peck Woods Road
Camden, SC 29020-8954
ronp@prestagefarms.com

Mr. Randall C. Ramsey
Member, NCSU Board of Trustees
530 Sensation Weigh
Beaufort, NC 28516-7672
rramsey@jarrettbay.com

Mr. John P. Sall
Member, NCSU Board of Trustees
SAS Campus Dr.
Cary, NC 27513
john.sall@sas.com

Ms. Susan P. Ward
Member, NCSU Board of Trustees
10700 Leesville Road
Raleigh, NC 27613
spward@nc.rr.com

Alex Parker
President, NCSU Student Body
355 Harrelson Hall
NC State University,
Campus Box 7306
Raleigh, NC 27695-7306
sbp@ncsu.edu

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Help stop the sale of Hofmann Forest — Janet Smith

See Janet’s letter to the editor in the JDNews.

Thank you Janet!  As one of the plaintiffs in this case, now under appeal, I would also encourage anyone who opposes this sale to contact the Chancellor of NCSU, Randy Woodson, and the President of the UNC System, Thomas Ross, and encourage them to practice what is taught at NCSU and throughout the UNC system. Natural resources conservation, sustainability, and ethics are current education themes. Under the UNC system environmental policy, either of these individuals could require that an environmental assessment be performed.  Also, isn’t it ironic that the current Attorney General, Roy Cooper, is using state resources to defend the sale while The Board of Trustees of the NCSU Endowment Fund is arguing they can make the sale without an environmental assessment because Hofmann is not public property?  Never mind that a former Attorney General, Rufus Edmisten, wrote a letter to Jones County saying Hofmann was state-owned and therefore not subject to property tax.  NCSU has not paid property tax in Jones or Onslow Counties for over 70 years claiming the public property exemption.  It seems reasonable that either Hofmann is public and they need to play by their own rules or Hofmann is private and they owe a bunch of back taxes.  Many public documents on this sale are available on our waterwaystewards.us website. Thanks!

1980-07-17_Rufus_Edmisten_Jones_County_Hofmann_State_Property

WCTI 12 — Onslow County commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to preserve the Hofmann Forest.

 

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The University of North Carolina – Does it practice what it teaches?

While we appeal the decision by Judge Shannon Joseph to dismiss our case, we can focus on the  broader and more principled issue here, especially for University of North Carolina Officials (UNC System President, the NCSU Chancellor, or their designees).  Do they practice what they teach?  System-wide, The University of North Carolina, of which NCSU is a part, teaches  conservation, sustainability, and ethics.

We are appealing a ruling on finer legal points, the letter of the law, but there is little doubt about the intent of the law. The intent is written right into the North Carolina Constitution and the North Carolina Environmental Policy Act.  University of North Carolina Officials are ignoring the intent of the law and standing, precariously, on the sharp divide between the intent of the law and their narrow interpretation of the letter of the law.

In granting the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, Judge Shannon R. Jospeh wrote:

“The role of this Court is not to decide whether the sale of Hofmann Forest is wise  or ill-advised. Rather, this Court must decide whether the North Carolina law on which Plaintiffs rely would entitle them to relief assuming that their allegations are true.”

This implies that she recognized that the heart of the matter is the wisdom, or lack thereof, of selling Hofmann Forest.  She rendered no opinion on whether our allegations are true or not. Her ruling was whether or not we were entitled to halt the sale or force the University to comply with the letter of the law.  However, the broader, more principled issue still stands. It is obvious on reading that the intent of Article XIV, Section 5 of the North Carolina Constitution and the North Carolina Environmental Policy Act (“SEPA”) are to protect and preserve public lands and the environment. Further, the UNC System Policy, derived from and giving guidance on SEPA compliance, also has similar principles.

It should be incumbent on the University Officials, under the intent of the Constitution of this State, the intent of SEPA, and their own Policy regarding SEPA compliance, to do the right thing, the wise thing, and require an Environmental Assessment of this sale.  The UNC System Policy says the UNC System President, the NCSU Chancellor, or their designees, may determine that environmental documents under SEPA are required in any case where one of the exceptions to their own Policy is present.  In this case, numerous exceptions to their own Policy are present and obvious.  The fact that numerous exceptions are present and obvious should create a higher responsibility for the University Officials to carry out the intent and not just the letter of the law, rules, and their own Policies.

Among these exceptions are:

1. The proposed activity could cause significant changes in industrial, commercial, residential, silviculture, or agricultural land-use concentrations or distributions which would be expected to create adverse water quality, air quality, or groundwater impacts, or affect long-term recreational benefits, shellfish, wildlife, or their natural habitats.

We know there are plans for development and conversion to agriculture.  With no deed restrictions, the real estate principle of “highest and best use” will apply.  This will likely result in all of the above adverse impacts on a wide-spread and long-term basis.

2. The proposed activity has indirect effect or is part of cumulative effects not generally covered in the approval process for state action and that may result in a potential risk to human health or the environment.

It is clear that substantial changes on such a large property will have indirect and cumulative effects that need to be studied.  Among them is Environmental Justice.  It appears that this sale, and resulting more intense land use may disproportionately adversely impact low-income and minority populations in the immediate vicinity of Hofmann Forest.

3. The proposed activity is of such an unusual nature or has such widespread implications that an uncommon concern for its environmental effects has been expressed to the University or the constituent institution.

Sale of the largest research forest in the world is of “an unusual nature.” Sale of 80,000 acres, with no significant land use restrictions, impacting three already impaired watersheds has “widespread implications.”   “An uncommon concern for its environmental effects has been expressed to the University…” by students, petitions, editorials, legal action, and more.

4.  The proposed activity may have a potential for significant, adverse, and direct effects on sensitive areas.

There is ample evidence that wetlands, historical and archeological sites, nursery areas, and protected species are present in, around, or downstream of Hofmann Forest. Many may be adversely impacted by more intense land use within the former forest.

University Officials should set an exemplary standard and practice the principles their own Policies advise and their classes teach. The University teaches  conservation, sustainability, and ethics.  University Officials should show their commitment to these core values by their actions and immediately require that an Environmental Assessment be performed for the sale of Hofmann Forest, whether it is required by the letter of the law or not (a point which we have not conceded).

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UNC Exceptions to Minimum Criteria, 6.c.

On our UNC Exceptions post, we outlined the UNC System Policy where the President, Chancellor, or their designees may determine that environmental documents under the NCEPA are required in any case where one of the findings applies to a proposed activity. We will be addressing those in turn, but not necessarily in order.  This post deals with Exception 6.c:

6.c. The proposed activity is of such an unusual nature or has such widespread implications that an uncommon concern for its environmental effects has been expressed to the University or the constituent institution.

  • Sale of the largest research forest in the world is of “an unusual nature.”
  • Sale of 80,000 acres, with no significant land use restrictions, impacting three already impaired watersheds has “widespread implications.”
  • “An uncommon concern for its environmental effects has been expressed to the University or the constituent institution.”

Based on Exception 6.c alone, the President, Chancellor, or their designee may determine that documents under the NCEPA should be prepared.

Going forward, we will address all of the Exceptions.  If only one Exception is sufficient, would it not be irresponsible of the the President, Chancellor, or their designee to determine that documents under the NCEPA should be prepared if several Exceptions can be demonstrated?

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UNC Exceptions to Minimum (Non-Major) Criteria

Minimum Environmental Criteria for the North Carolina Environmental Policy Act, NUMBER 369, DATE 5/5/97

UNC SEPA CRITERIA

6. Exceptions to Minimum (Non-Major) Criteria

Any activity falling within the parameters of the minimum criteria set out in this memorandum will not routinely be required to have environmental documentation under the NCEPA; however, the President, Chancellor, or their designees may determine that environmental documents under the NCEPA are required in any case where one of the following findings applies to a proposed activity.

a. The proposed activity could cause significant changes in industrial, commercial, residential, silviculture, or agricultural land-use concentrations or distributions which would be expected to create adverse water quality, air quality, or groundwater impacts, or affect long-term recreational benefits, shellfish, wildlife, or their natural habitats.

b. The proposed activity has indirect effect or is part of cumulative effects not generally covered in the approval process for state action and that may result in a potential risk to human health or the environment.

c. The proposed activity is of such an unusual nature or has such widespread implications that an uncommon concern for its environmental effects has been expressed to the University or the constituent institution.

d. The proposed activity may have a potential for significant, adverse, and direct effects on a “sensitive area” which include but are not limited to the following:

1) Wetlands delineated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in accordancewith 33 CFR 328.3 and 40 CFR 230.3;
2) Historical and Archeological sites protected by the National HistoricPreservation Act and National Executive Order 11593 and StateExecutive Order 16 administered by the N.C. Department of CulturalResources;
3) National Historic Landmarks as designated in accordance with theHistoric Site Act at 16 USC 461;
4) State Parks Lands administered in accordance with G.S. 113-44.9;
5) State-Owned Game Lands administered in accordance with G.S. 113-264and 306 (d);
6) State-Owned Forest Land administered in accordance with G.S. 113-22;
7) State Nature Preserves and Dedicated Natural Areas administered in accordance with G.S. 113A-164.1;
8) Primary and Secondary Nurseries designated in accordance with 15ANCAC 3R.0003 and 10C NCAC .0503, and Critical Habitat Areas designated in accordance with 15A NCAC 31.0001; and 101 NCAC .0001 (5);
9) State High-Quality Waters designated in accordance with 15A NCAC 2B.0201 (d); this includes waters classified as WS-I, WS-II, SA and ORW (Outstanding Resource Waters):
10) State Natural and Scenic Rivers designated in accordance with G.S.113A-30;
11) North Carolina Coastal Reserves designated in accordance with G.S. 113A-129.1;
12) State Lakes administered in accordance with G.S. 146-3; and
13) Lands which contain animal or plant species protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act (administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), State Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Wildlife Species of Special Concern Act (G.S. 113-311 administered by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission), State Plant Protection and Conservation Act (G.S. 106-202.12 administered by the North Carolina
Department of Agriculture).

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Does SEPA Apply to the Sale of Hofmann Forest?

Here’s a key point we have outstanding: Does this sale trigger the North Carolina Environmental Policy Act of 1971, commonly known as SEPA.

Attorneys for the Board of Trustees and the Foundation argued that the sale itself did not trigger SEPA. SEPA includes two very broad categories that cover virtually every state action: “any action involving the expenditure of public moneys” and “any action involving . . . use of public land” that may negatively affect the environment.

We know it is public land.  That appears to be no longer in dispute.

Is sale a use of public land? In a common sense evaluation, it is clear that sale is the ultimate use of public land. It is being used to get money. The money would not flow if the land were not sold. Though SEPA may not directly include the term “sale” in its text, the term “any action” certainly does include sale. Sale of land certainly falls under the descriptor “any action.”

Will the sale negatively affect the environment?  Yes. By the buyer’s own admission, there will be some development.  How much remains to be seen, but more intense land use would clearly negatively affect the environment of this state. As such, the act of sale by the Board of Trustees would set into motion more intense land use, negatively affecting the environment, which would not happen in the absence of a sale. Thus, the action of sale is directly traceable to negative impacts to the environment of the state.

We hope the Court will concur that SEPA does apply to the sale. If it does, the Board of Trustees would have to conduct an Environmental Assessment (EA). Unless they can show a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), they will have to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). If the Court finds that sale of public land into private hands with no enforceable restrictions (not assurances) on more intense land use, this would set a very bad precedent and leave all state lands open to sale with no Environmental Assessment (EA).

Why are they so adamant against doing an an Environmental Assessment (EA), which is a relatively easy process? They probably already know they can’t show a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). That will trigger a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which would reveal the true consequences of this sale.

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2013-11-15 Hofmann Forest Update

Five individuals, Frederick Cubbage, Ronald W. Sutherland, Barny Bernard, Jr., James D. Gregory, and myself stood against the Board of  Trustees of the Endowment Fund of North Carolina State University at Raleigh (the Board of Trustees) and the North Carolina State Natural Resources Foundation, Inc. (the Foundation), in Wake County Superior Court on Tuesday, November 12, 2013, in opposition to the sale of Hofmann Forest. We asked the Court to declare that the sale of this large and precious piece of public land either cannot occur or, at minimum, cannot occur without compliance with the North Carolina Environmental Policy Act (commonly known as SEPA), and all other applicable laws. The case was heard by Judge Shannon Joseph.

We argued that:

1. The sale of Hofmann Forest is subject to SEPA and the Board of Trustees and the Foundation failed to comply with SEPA;

2. That we have standing to bring this action before the Court;

3. That we are entitled to a Preliminary Injunction to stop the sale;

4. That we will likely succeed on the merits; and

5. That we will suffer irreparable loss if the sale is not stopped.

Judge Joseph did not grant our request for a Preliminary Injunction, apparently because she believed we did not demonstrate that we would be likely to succeed or that we did not prove evidence of irreparable loss if the sale is not stopped. She stopped short of determining whether we could continue our case by not ruling on the Board of Trustees’ and the Foundation’s motion to dismiss based on our standing or whether the sale is subject to SEPA.

Lawyers for the Board of Trustees and the Foundation at first argued that the property was not public land and therefore not subject to SEPA. We produced an opinion letter from then Attorney General Rufus Edmisten, stating clearly that Hofmann Forest was state owned property and was therefore exempt from local tax under the NC Constitution. After that, the Lawyers for the Board of Trustees and the Foundation appeared to drop their contention that Hofmann Forest was not public land and then tried to insist that the sale did not trigger SEPA.

They argued vehemently that there were no plans for development of the property by the buyer and that the buyer’s intention was to keep Hofmann Forest as a working forest. They cited the contract for sale as evidence of the buyer’s intention. Unfortunately, the contract for sale does not prohibit or restrain the buyer, and particularly any future purchasers, from undertaking any activity they wish on the property. The referenced section of the contract on the buyer’s intent is non binding and only says they will try to do some things that may preserve part of the Forest. It also says that these are not deed restrictions and will not be binding on any future buyers.

Lawyers for the Board of Trustees and the Foundation also argued that the sale itself did not trigger SEPA. SEPA includes two very broad categories that cover virtually every state action: “any action involving the expenditure of public moneys” and “any action involving . . . use of public land”. It is simply common sense that the sale of the largest State-owned tract of land in North Carolina and the largest research forest in the world to a private corporation is a use of public land. Also, in a common sense evaluation, it is clear that sale is the ultimate use of public land. It is being used to get money. The money would not flow if the land were not sold.

It is readily foreseeable that, once in private hands and with no significant deed restrictions, the private owner would then seek the highest and best use of his property. Such use would clearly significantly affect the environment of this state. As such, the act of sale by the Board of Trustees would set into motion land use changes based on the recognized principle of highest and best use, which would not happen in the absence of a sale. Thus, the sale directly leads to negative impacts to the environment of the state. Though SEPA may not directly include the term “sale” in its text, the term “any action” certainly does include sale. Sale of land certainly falls under the descriptor “any action.”

We hope the Court will concur that SEPA does apply. If it does, the Board of Trustees would have to conduct an Environmental Assessment (EA). Unless they can show a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), they will have to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Instead of being able to claim that there will be no significant changes in the Forest as they did in Court Tuesday, they may have a larger hurdle to overcome based on a newly discovered document.

After Tuesday’s Hearing, an Investment Prospectus came to light, apparently prepared by the buyer, Hoffmann, LLC. The Prospectus is not dated, but it presents an intent to develop Hofmann Forest in a manner completely at odds with what was presented in Court by Lawyers for the Board of Trustees and the Foundation and in public statements by University officials. We have to wonder if Judge Joseph would have come to a different decision on our request for an injunction if she had the benefit of this Prospectus in evidence. Unfortunately, the Hearing process does not include Discovery.

At this point, we do not know if the Board of Trustees, the Foundation, University officials, and their Lawyers knew of the existence of the Prospectus prior to the Hearing last Tuesday, or even earlier. The fact that the contract for sale negotiated by the Board of Trustees, in concert with the Foundation, University officials, and their Lawyers appears to be completely compatible with the newly discovered Prospectus, implies that all or some of these parties knew of the Prospectus, or the buyer’s intent all along, or were they were duped by a crafty buyer. Either way, it does not leave the Board of Trustees, the Foundation, University officials, and their Lawyers in a good place. Who, if anyone, knew of the buyer’s plans for the Forest, as presented in the Prospectus, and when? Did they try to hide it? Did they misrepresent the buyer’s intentions before Judge Joseph? If not, are these parties so naive as to believe the buyer’s stated intention with no contractual assurance? Discovery will be the required if our case does go forward. Discovery will uncover who knew of the Prospectus and when.

Dean Mary Watzin argued on camera Friday that restrictions on deeds are not usually included in sales contracts. Has she ever bought or sold real property herself? Inclusion of restrictions in a sales contracts is probably the most common means of placing a restriction on a deed. One example many should be familiar with is subdivision covenants. It is common practice.

The Board of Trustees, the Foundation, and University officials negotiated a contract for sale that places no significant restrictions on the deed that would prevent conversion to agriculture, residential and commercial development, mining, and many other destructive uses as contemplated in the Hofmann, LLC, Prospectus. In fact, the Prospectus reads like a worst-case scenario to those of us who are concerned about the Forest and the impacts on the region. The negative impacts on Hofmann Forest itself, bad as they would be, are only a small part of the issue. The much larger negative impacts will be felt all over the entire central coastal region.

Hofmann Forest is large, about 80,000 acres. It is a large percentage of three watersheds, The New River, the White Oak River, and the Trent River (Neuse tributary). All of these watersheds will be significantly negatively impacted by the land use changes contemplated in the Prospectus for Hofmann Forest. In 2007, the White Oak River Basinwide Water Quality Plan stated that 100 percent of the saltwater miles and 44 percent of the freshwater miles of the White Oak River are impaired. The main reason for the impairment – stormwater runoff from agriculture and development. The New River and Neuse River are also impaired and for the same reasons. We all see manifestations of these water quality issues in fish kills and in closed shellfish waters. Sometimes waters are even closed to swimming! Do we want more of this? The Board of Trustees, the Foundation, University officials, and Hofmann, LLC, appear poised to make this a reality, if the Prospectus represents the buyer’s intent, and this sale is completed.

Who will be affected outside Hofmann Forest? All coastal waters and communities downstream of Hofmann Forest would directly feel the impact of the proposed land use changes outlined in the Prospectus. This includes the New River, the White Oak River, the Trent River, the Neuse River, the estuarine systems of all these rivers, Pamlico Sound, Bogue Sound, Topsail Island, Bear Island, the Atlantic Ocean, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Shackleford Banks, Portsmouth Island, Ocracoke Island, Jacksonville, Sneads Ferry, Camp Lejeune, New Bern, Swansboro, Oriental, and much more.  Availability of drinking water and the quality of that water will be diminished.

There will be secondary impacts on lands and waters surrounding the Forest. The transportation network and public services in Jones and Onslow Counties will see an increased burden, albeit set off somewhat by additional taxes. Development pressure on adjacent land will increase, compounding the negative impact of development in Hofmann Forest. The state will lose a significant historical and cultural resource. Hofmann is unique as a research forest.

Hofmann Forest is a connecting link in a much larger ecosystem, Croatan-Hofmann-Camp Lejeune-Holly Shelter. When linked, they create an ecosystem that is greater than the sum of its parts. We need large connected land tracts to preserve large habitats for species that can only thrive in a large, regional ecosystems. Because surficial aquifers are directly connected to surface waters in this region, we could regionally see a loss of quality in and availability of drinking water if the development in the Prospectus is allowed.

The State of North Carolina has embarked on a major concerted effort to educate the public on water quality issues. They have done a good job. Much of their justification and reference come from studies done by NCSU professors and students. Somehow, the Board of Trustees, the Foundation, and University officials missed the state’s education efforts. North Carolina’s Aquariums and Estuarium (Washington) do a great job of explaining the strong correlation between land use and water quality. More intense land use reduces water quality and increases stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is the single largest source of water pollution. In coastal systems more intense land use equates to more fish kills, more closed shellfish waters, and reduced estuarine nursery function. North Carolina presents these as simple facts, repeated again and again, in North Carolina policy, North Carolina education efforts, in North Carolina laws and rules, and even in grade-schoool earth science textbooks. Again, somehow the Board of Trustees, the Foundation, and University officials missed North Carolina’s outreach efforts for its citizens to protect water quality, rules put in place the further the state’s goals of protecting and preserving public lands, the State Constitution, and their grade-school earth science textbooks. The alternative is that they simply chose to ignore them, seeing only dollar signs.

Based on this, one has to question whether the Board of Trustees, the Foundation, and University officials are good stewards of the state’s resources and team players in North Carolina’s great overall effort to protect and preserve its lands and waters. They seem willing to contravene the goals of this state as outlined in the State Constitution and to try to avoid the laws and rules of this state, particularly SEPA.

As such, beyond stopping this sale, a further goal should be to get this property out of the hands of the Board of Trustees, the Foundation, and University officials altogether. Hofmann Forest should remain intact, to be held by a true conservation entity in perpetuity. The military should still be allowed an easement to do low-level operations there. That would help to offset the cost of wresting the Forest from the the Board of Trustees, the Foundation, and University officials. The Forest should continue to be used for forestry research, but it should also be more open to the public. Currently, only a select few can enjoy recreational opportunities in Hofmann Forest. It is public land and should be made available to the public through the North Carolina Wildlife Gamelands program.

Please join us in our effort prevent the sale of Hofmann Forest.

John L. Eddy, PE

Co-Plaintiff

Jones County Citizen and Farmer

Onslow County Landowner

www.waterwaystewards.us

 

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