PCS Phosphate Land Mining Debate

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It's a tale of two greens: the environment and money. Less than two weeks remain for the latest public comment period on plans for PCS Phosphate to mine more land.

PCS Phosphate officials in Aurora say they're hopeful the Army Corps of Engineers will approve one of the newer plans for expanding the land the company can mine. Company officials say the plan known as Alternative M would force them to sacrifice 19 million tons of resources they could mine, in order to stay off coastal wetlands and public trust waters.

The public comment period ends December 21.

PCS Phosphate employs more people that any other private company in Beaufort County. If they don't get a permit by the end of March, officials say it will hurt their bottom line.

The Pamlico Tar River Foundation says the plan PCS Phosphate is endorsing is illegal. Riverkeeper Heather Jacobs says the plan does not meet Clean Water Act requirements because it allows the company to mine more than 4,000 acres of wetlands and seriously degrade the water resources there.