News

‘No activity’ at Blounts Creek mine property

Environmental, Tar-Pamlico Watershed, Water Quality

Posted on February 1st, 2024

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman and Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register mid-flight.

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman and Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register took to the air today, after receiving a report of activity on the proposed site of a limestone mine in Blounts Creek. However, the two said they saw little evidence to support the report.

“There was a small clearing at the GPS coordinates we have for the location, but there didn’t seem to be any activity,” Katey said.

“They haven’t started operating out there. We didn’t see any equipment, and the land seemed relatively undisturbed,” Taylor said.

The permit approving the discharge process proposed by the mining company was the subject of a 10-year court battle between the Southern Environmental Law Center, representing Sound Rivers and North Carolina Coastal Federation, and Martin Marietta Mining and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. Last year, the North Carolina Supreme Court decided in favor of the mining company. It is unknown when mine construction will begin.

The phosphate mining company in Aurora, as seen from above.

Taylor and Katey joined SouthWings volunteer pilot Rolf Wallin for the flight taking off from Washington-Warren Airport in Washington on Thursday morning. In addition to the mine site, they had other locations to check from the air: an industrial poultry facility near Belhaven and the proposed site of an industrial facility near phosphate-mining company Nutrien.

Taylor said the aerial views didn’t send up any red flags.

“It is always good to not find anything concerning. Overall, it was really good to go out there and see things going right,” Taylor said.

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The Pungo River, northeast of Belhaven.
An industrial poultry facility, near Belhaven.
Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register, SouthWings volunteer pilot Rolf Wallins and Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmer at Washington-Warren Airport.

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