UPDATE: Decision On Beaufort Co. Mine Final Permit Expected This Fall

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The question of whether or not a proposed mine in Beaufort County will be approved will soon be in the hands of the North Carolina Division of Water Resources now after the final public hearing meeting Tuesday. The public can still submit written comments until August 31st.

Tuesday night the N.C. Division of Water Resources held a public hearing in Beaufort County regarding the Vanceboro quarry project by Martin Marietta Materials. The company is trying to obtain a third permit, for water withdrawal. They've already received another controversial permit for water discharge.

The Department of Water Resources expects a decision on the permit to be made by mid-October, but Martin Marietta says construction might have to wait a little longer.

The main concerns of the residents we spoke with are for the wildlife in Blount's Creek, which if damaged, could cost the local fishing economy, and the possibility that water withdrawal could impact drinking water wells of those who live nearby.

Beaufort County residents are gearing up for what they're calling their last chance to stop a mine from being constructed which they say could damage the area's water supply.

The Vanceboro quarry project has faced scrutiny from locals in Beaufort County, who say water discharged from the mine into Blount's Creek could significantly damage the environment and harm wildlife.

They also say the company, Martin Marietta Materials, is looking to use 12 million gallons of water per day from the county's two aquifers, which could impact residential drinking water.

No one from Martin Marietta was available to speak with us on camera Monday, but those in opposition are fearing results from Tuesday night's public hearing, could grant the company the final permit needed to start the project.

"It's the 11th hour. It really is, and I'm not sure if there are legal recourse after the fact if they've got all of their permits. If we along with other groups in the area can go along with other groups in the area, we can go for an injunction or something like that," said charter boat captain Bob Boulden.

The public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Beaufort
County Community College. Registration for public comment begins at 5 p.m.