Environmental groups have challenged a North Carolina decision that allows a phosphate mining company to expand the area where it can dig for ore in Beaufort County for the next 35 years.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported the challenge to the permit for PCS Phosphate was filed Thursday in state administrative court, where agency decisions are first appealed.
State officials said in January that the permit would affect nearly 4,000 acres of wetlands and 19 acres of ponds. The permit also requires protection of a hardwood forest west of the mining site.
The challenge Thursday was filed on behalf of the Environmental Defense Fund, North Carolina Coastal Federation, Pamlico-Tar River Foundation and North Carolina Sierra Club.
A company spokesman could not be reached immediately for comment.