News | April 21, 2015

SELC continues fighting to protect Blounts Creek

On Monday SELC appealed a recent court ruling that would allow a proposed Martin Marietta mine to destroy a popular fishing creek in eastern North Carolina by inundating it with mine wastewater.

On March 20, a judge ruled that downstream North Carolina residents and businesses could not challenge the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ permit authorizing the creek’s destruction. SELC’s appeal aims to not only protect the creek but also restore citizens’ right to enforce the law when the state government abandons its responsibility.

“The earlier court’s ruling disregarded well-established state and federal laws that allow citizens who live downstream to protect our creeks and rivers when DENR and state government fail to do so,” said SELC Senior Attorney Geoff Gisler.

The DENR permitted the flooding of the natural creek with mining wastewater, allowing the destruction of Blounts Creek as it is today with an abundance of fish in its waters, which flow into the Pamlico River and eventually the Pamlico Sound. The discharge, up to 12 million gallons per day, will transform the swampy headwaters into a fast-flowing stream consisting primarily of mine wastewater, permanently altering the creek.

The appeal was filed on behalf of the Sound Rivers and the N.C. Coastal Federation.