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Groups Challenge Blounts Creek Decision

The North Carolina Coastal Federation and the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico Riverkeeper organization Sound Rivers have filed a petition asking the courts to vacate a state permit that allows a mining operation to discharge 12 million gallons of water a day into Blounts Creek, a popular fishing and recreation area, the Daily Reflector of Greenville reported.

Martin Marietta Materials received a permit from the state Division of Water Resources for the discharge into the headwaters of the creek just east of Chocowinity.

The federation and Sound Rivers were unsuccessful in a nearly three-year fight against the permit, which the groups said would change the nature of the creek and affect aquatic life there. The groups seek to reverse the decision, saying findings were unsupported by evidence and arbitrary and capricious. The petition also claims that Administrative Law Judge Philip E. Berger Jr.’s final decision in November that the groups were not substantially prejudiced was in error.

“ … the decision completely ignores the interests of the people who live along the creek, fish its waters, and depend on its unique fisheries,” Riverkeeper Heather Deck said in a statement on the Sound-Rivers website.

The petition was filed Dec. 28 in Carteret County Superior Court by attorney Geoff Gisler of the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represents the federation and Sound Rivers.

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.