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Gov. Jim Martin said he was simply disagreeing with - not rebuking - his Western North Carolina Environmental Council when he took issue with its position urging local veto power over some regulations.

``I respect very much those who hold a different view and have put forward this resolution,' Martin said. ``I won't seek to silence them.'The council's proposal to let county commissioners exempt streams in their counties from the state's high quality waters program would undermine North Carolina's ability to adopt uniform regulations for the entire state, Martin said.

``The state has the responsibility to protect the quality of the surface waters, the ground waters, the marine resources of the state,' he said. ``I don't think you can do it with everybody making up their own standards in different parts of the state with 100 counties having 100 different approaches to how we're going to protect the surface waters.'

The advisory council - whose members Martin appointed last year - adopted the resolution at a meeting in Hickory Jan. 10, pushed by Charles Taylor, a Brevard businessman and tree farmer.

Taylor, vice chairman of the council, controls extensive land holdings in his tree-farming business and owns more than 8,000 acres in Transylvania County, some of which would be affected by the state's program.

The program ``sets a bad precedent that says that state government knows better than local government,' Taylor said at the time.

The state Division of Environmental Management has identified 1,134 miles of streams in the state as candidates for water-quality designation. Development along the streams would be subject to population density limitations.

The Environmental Management Commission is expected to decide in April which streams to protect.


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