In less then two weeks the Environmental Protection Agency will either decide to approve or reject a permit extension for PCS Phosphate to continue mining in Beaufort County.
Now local officials are urging the public to get involved and help stop this eight year process from taking any longer.
May 6th is when the EPA is supposed to make their decision, one that could greatly impact the local economy, since PCS Phosphate is Beaufort County's largest employers and has already had to start laying employees off because of permit delays.
That's why Beaufort County Commissioner Albert Klemm is trying to jump start a grassroots effort to help PCS out and get the community involved. He's urging residents to head to WWW.PCSVOTES.COM that's where you can send a letter to your representative in support of PCS’s mining permit. Klemm says if PCS doesn't get the permit it needs, the community is going to take a major economic hit.
"In Beaufort County, PCS Phosphate is almost 20% of our tax base, you can imagine what it would do to our tax revenue. PCS also employees approximately 1,050 employees and up to 500 contractors in Beaufort County, Pitt County, Craven County, and Pamlico County."
Klemm says in the past 29 years the EPA has approved thousands of permits and only denied 12 and they've never rejected a mining permit but he says with administration changes and the power of environmentalists he fears things could be different this time around.
If you recall the main problems environmentalists have had with PCS is their effect on wetlands and fish nurseries in our area.