WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) -- The state-owned North Carolina Railroad company has voted against giving $70 million to help build wood pellet handling facilities at the ports of Wilmington and Morehead City.

The StarNews of Wilmington reported ( ) that state officials recently asked the railroad for the money over 10 years to help build the $120 million port projects. Officials say the projects would be the most expensive ever at the state's ports.

But the railroad company board of directors rejected the request Thursday.

Environmental groups say the state has not looked closely at the potential environmental impact of such large projects.

Todd Miller of the North Carolina Coastal Federation says the project would mean more train traffic in downtown Morehead City and would affect the forests in the eastern part of the state.

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