UPDATE: Residents Speak Out Against Proposed Beaufort County Project

By: April Davis/ Hilary Magacs
By: April Davis/ Hilary Magacs

A town hall meeting Tuesday night allowed people to voice concerns about a proposed rock mine possibly damaging water and wildlife- along with the drinking water supply in Beaufort County.

The town hall meeting in Chocowinity was packed wall to wall with about 50 residents in opposition to the open pit limestone mine planned for the Blount's Creek area on the Craven-Beaufort County line.

Those who spoke focused on millions of gallons of fresh water that could be dumped into the river depleting the river.

WITN spoke with Beaufort County Water Department manager Curtis Jett who said the project proposed by Martin Marietta Materials, Incorporated, is seeking a permit that could impact four of Beaufort County's water wells and the 9,000 people they serve.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is reviewing the project and is accepting public comment until January 14th.


Some people in the Blount's Creek area of Beaufort County say they're going to town hall tonight, to tell leaders what they think about a proposed open-pit rock mine.

Some residents tell WITN they plan to attend the regular town meeting in Chocowinity tonight because they're so upset over the mine's potential impacts on their area.

The town says the proposed mine is not on tonight's meeting agenda, but residents will have a chance to speak during a public comment period toward the beginning of the meeting.

Beaufort County Water Department manager Curtis Jett told WITN last week that the project that Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. is seeking a permit for could impact four of Beaufort County's water wells and the 9,000 people they serve.

The US Army Corp of Engineers is reviewing the project. They're accepting public comments through January 14. You can find out how to submit your comments by visiting the link below this story.

Previous Story:

A proposed open-pit rock mine would sit on about 1600 acres on the Beaufort- Craven County line, according to a mine permit application filed by Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.

Beaufort County Water Department manager Curtis Jett says in order to mine the limestone, workers will have to pump water out of the ground. He says paperwork shows they plan to pump at least 9 million gallons of water out of the ground each day, and says he's worried that will lower the water table. He says if that happens, four of Beaufort County's water wells within five miles of the project might not be able to reach the water, which would affect about 9,000 people living in southern Beaufort County.

Paperwork shows the company plans to discharge the water from the mine into the headwaters of Blount's Creek, which has some people living there upset. Bob Ebesays the excess fresh water will erode the shoreline of the brackish creek and kill both fish and plants living in it. He says that will destroy the food supply for other wildlife in the area.

"We do have bald eagles down here and ospry, right on the creek that do fish in the creek for their subsistence," said Ebe.

The US Army Corp of Engineers is reviewing the project. Ebe says they've extended their comment period until January 14th- meaning you have a little over two weeks to voice your opinion on the issue.

For more information on how to do that, you can visit the link below.

WITN's Calls to Martin Marietta Mines were not returned Wednesday.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Peggy C. Taylor Location: Belhaven on Jan 7, 2012 at 08:34 AM
    As a child I witnessed the loss of wells when PCS arrived. Our water is a precious resource that must not be wasted. LIFE DEPENDS ON WATER. Mining is not the issue but rather the waste of such a precious resource. Our aquifer should not be depleted, the water should not be sold to other areas of the country and IT SHOULD NOT BE WASTED. IF this mining should proceed it should only happen when proper conservation of the water is accomplished. So many areas of our country have severe water shortage and yet even with a drought we still are blessed with drinking water. If the aquifer is depleted and wasted then we may not be blessed and may suffer. We are directed in the Bible to be good stewards of our resources. Please do not waste the water.
    • reply
      by steve on Jan 7, 2012 at 09:54 AM in reply to Peggy C. Taylor
      Amen to you and to Dr----What do you think people in drought stricken Texas would prefer, the aggregate or the water????
  • by Dr DH Location: Pitt on Jan 7, 2012 at 08:21 AM
    It is unconscionable that Eastern NC would want or allow the wantom waste of a limitied resource so perciouse as clean water to be wasted. Especially in droute conditions and at the expence of the citizens who will have to suffer the long term consequences of another depeletion of the acquifer, higher water bills and restrictions that could be avoided. Recycle! This water that will be drawn out of the mine should belong and be mandated for use in Eastern NC, not DUMPED!
  • by Don Location: Blounts Creek on Jan 5, 2012 at 07:00 PM
    John T was on the right track on 1/2/12. Mapquest and a trip up the creek were VERY informative. I did the math and the creek holds approximately 866,000,000 gallons of water. (Bridge to headwaters at Sawyer Road, approx. 3.5 miles by boat) 9,200,000 gallons daily is about 1% a day. Sounds like nothing, wrong! Figure operation of the mine at 250 days per year yeilds 2.3 BILLION gallons of water a year. MM will FLUSH Blounts Creek with fresh water every 4 months for 50 years! No problem.......Anyone ever hear of recharge sumps or inversion wells? That's how humans put water back in an aquifer and keep salt water from infiltrating coastal fresh water aquifers. SLOW DOWN, read, do it once and do it right!
  • by steve Location: blounts creek on Jan 5, 2012 at 05:20 PM
    Hey, the good thing is folks are interested. Fine for Martin Marietta to have a quarry, but at the expense of Blounts Creek and our quality ground water----all to benefit a company with 3billion in assets--and to benefit the DOT$$$$ Give me a break. Keep it clean, and to use an overused term, "transparent." Keep it lively.
  • by All Concerned Location: Beaufort County on Jan 5, 2012 at 04:21 AM
    Big money want to make money and they do not live here and do not care about the quality of life. Everyone must have forgotten about FCX and Washington being on the superfund site list. One day Beaufort County will be on 60 Minutes with all the health problems and how industry killed the Pamlico.
  • by Native Location: Grantsboro on Jan 4, 2012 at 09:36 AM
    If the general public had any idea how many open pit mines just like this one, ok maybe a little smaller, are scattered all across ENC, they would fall out dead. Hate to tell you guys, but there is more combined smaller water totals than this being pumped everyday, you just don't know about it. Let em mine it. It wont kill the creek anymore than PCS has killed the Pamlico River, which they have not.
  • by resident of the pamlico sound Location: driff wood dr on Jan 4, 2012 at 07:49 AM
    comment's question's.PUBLIC Hearing,JANUARY 9-AT-5.00PM 3RD STREET WASHINGTON NC, martin marietta . PROPOSED BEAUFORT COUNTY ROCK MINE CAUSES WATER_SHORTAGE< CONTAMINATION CONCERNS>, come and listene please come, ALL BEAUFORT COUNTY AND CRAVEN COUNTY, TAXES PAYER"S, PLEASE COME. JANUARY 14th, us army corp of engineers accepting public comment. "BUT" BY LAW THEY DO NOT! DO NOT HAVE TOO ANSEWER, ONLY LISTENED, and through it away. ENVIRONMENT-PETITION, m.m.m.,STOP THE MINE IN BEAUFORT CO. tell Governor Perdue and Secretary of the Department Environment and NaturalResources DEE FREEMAN that you oppose the issuance of any state PERMIT for the propoerd martin marietta materials mines in Beaufort co.until the company has adequately analyzed the impacts of the mine.Furthermore the state should hold one or more public hearings so that impacted individuals, stakeholds and communities can voice thier concerns. thank you. concern citizen, please come.
  • by taxman Location: washington on Jan 4, 2012 at 06:31 AM
    Watch out for the politicians who will sell our future to the corporations for a quick buck. Thr NC legislature with a current Republican majority will do whatever they can to promote the welfare and profitability of corporations with little regard for the future of NC citizens and future generations. They are all quick buck artists and the quick bucks they take are from NC taxpayers !
  • by bills on Jan 4, 2012 at 03:42 AM
    10 years ago PCS came to the state and federal agencies apply for a permit to mine the rest of the planet. In those early discussions, PCS wanted to take a "holistic" approach and do what was right for teh environment, add jobs, blah, blah. One issue that came up was what they intended to do with the mine depressurization water. "Holistically" would have included using that water and pumping it back upstate into the Castle Hayne aquifer,but that was unfeasible because building the infrastructure would be too expensive. MM has to opportunity to do this on the front end, and Beaufort Co has a responsibility to its citizens to use this water in a proper fashion. How soon we forget the drought of 2007-2008 when water use restrictions were all over state. COMMON SENSE needs to be exercised.
  • by Chocowinity Location: Chocowinity on Jan 3, 2012 at 10:22 AM
    I hope everyone realizes that the Chocowinity meeting is NOT a public hearing, it is only a discussion topic among Commissioners to decide if the mine will effect the town. The public is only invited to hear the discussions durin the open meeting. The public will not be commenting on the topic during the Commissioners' discussion.

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