NCDENR secretary visits Blounts Creek

Published 8:12 pm Saturday, October 12, 2013

by Capt. Bob Boulden

Jimmy Daniels, owner of Cotton Patch Landing and Marine, surprised me this morning (Oct. 11) when he phoned and told me that Secretary John Skvarla had just left his store on Blounts Creek.  Jimmy and his wife, Pam, related the following details of the visit to me.

They noticed a large N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries boat with many passengers aboard head up Blounts Creek past their business. Jimmy said they were up the creek for about 45 minutes and on the way back the boat docked at Cotton Patch Landing and Marine. The passengers came into the store and introduced themselves. Along with Secretary Skvarla were Louis Daniel, Director of N.C.D.M.F., and others from DENR and Marine Fisheries.

During the ensuing discussion, the visitors indicated they had left from Washington to see firsthand how the proposed Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. (MMM) limestone quarry might affect Blounts Creek. The following statements were made to Jimmy:

They were researching the MMM project and needed to gather all the facts. They were pro-business both large and small. The aquifer was sufficiently large to not be adversely affected by the withdrawal of up to 12,000,000 gallons per day. It could take up to 50 years for the discharge to increase to 12,000,000 gallons per day — which could still affect my children and grandchildren. The DENR lawyers were happy with the way the permits were written allowing them to be withdrawn if needed. Marine Fisheries still had concerns about the discharge to the creek.

Skvarla said, “We are interested in making the right decision for Blounts Creek.”

From the Governor’s website: “Governor Pat McCrory believes it is important for government to have a culture of customer service and work together with you to help you solve problems.”

I hope Sec. Skvarla’s visit will ensure this happens instead of the current “steamroller” approach that favors only big business. Thank you, Sec. Skvarla, for taking time to visit Blounts Creek.