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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.

PREVIOUS STORY:

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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