BLOUNTS CREEK, N.C. (WNCT) — A hearing to determine the legality of permits allowing a discharge of fresh water from a mining company into Blounts Creek got underway in Carteret County Friday.
It’s the fourth hearing over the permit issued by the N.C Division of Water Resources in 2013.
The dispute over the issuing of the permit really boils down to how both sides disagree about how the discharge of the fresh water will affect the natural habitat of the creek.
The permit would allow the mining company to discharge up to 12 million gallons of fresh water per day into the headwaters of Blounts Creek.
Environmental groups and residents say doing so would take a healthy natural creek and turn it into something unnatural.
Their lawyers arguing in front of a Carteret County judge that the permit violates the clean water act, asking him to reverse the final decision and vacate the permit.
“There are other alternatives for a surface water discharge not to the headwaters of Blounts Creek that would be very easy for the company to do,” Heather Deck, executive director of Sound Rivers, said. “Instead they chose to spend tens of thousands of dollars on court fees and attorneys.”
The state and lawyers for Martin Marietta said in court on Friday that the impacts of the discharge will be limited in scope and well within the tolerated range of fish.
But residents aren’t buying it.
“What right should we give a big business to destroy that?” Captain Bob Boulden, with Miss Pea Charters, said “That’s really what it comes down to. They want to drag this out on and on and on in hopes that we’ll go away. That will not happen.”
Previously a judge ruled the supporters didn’t have legal standing, but that was overturned.
The judge didn’t make a final decision Friday.
Instead, he’s giving both sides 30 days to submit their suggested rulings to him.