Permit process continues

Published 2:26 am Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Although one permit (certification) for the proposed limestone aggregate quarry in southern Beaufort County was issued last week, the project has not yet been given final approval as another permit process continues.

Last week, the N.C. Division of Water Quality issued a 401 water-quality certification that’s required for impacts to wetlands as outlined in section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requires this certification from the state where impacts occur as part of the individual 404 permit process — the federal permit that addresses impacts to wetlands.

The proposed project needs another permit a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit from the Division of Water Quality to address a proposed discharge of stormwater and groundwater from the mine to streams that are tributaries to Blounts Creek.

“The application for the NPDES permit from the division is still going through the process. The hearing officer for that action is reviewing information from Martin Marietta, DWQ permit staff and the comments gathered from the public. The hearing officer will prepare a report for the DWQ director,” wrote Susan Massengale, a public information officer for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “The director can issue the permit as drafted, issue the permit with modifications or decline to issue the permit. A decision is expected by mid-July.”

Massengale wrote that she believes the 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the project is pending.

Issuance of the 401 certification may be contested. That process includes filing a petition with the Office of Administrative Hearings.

If approved, the 649-acre quarry would straddle the Beaufort County-Craven County line. It would be off Welbourn Road on Weyerhaeuser property.

Many people oppose the plan to discharge water from the quarry into adjacent wetlands because they believe the discharged water will make its way into nearby streams and creeks, including Blounts Creek, and degrade their water quality and harm aquatic life.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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