A public hearing on the possible need for stricter pollution control requirements at the Blue Ridge Paper Products Canton mill will be held at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Tuscola High School in Waynesville.
The hearing is part of the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission’s assessment of the need for a more stringent state permit, instead of the less restrictive Department of Environment and Natural Resources requirements currently in place, which activists assert don’t prevent contamination of the Pigeon River. An alliance of North Carolina and Tennessee environmental groups, including the WNC Alliance and Clean Water North Carolina, have called for concerned residents to show up in force, and for a federal requirement tighten the mill’s pollution controls.
“It’s long past time for the Division of Water Quality to write a permit that meets the Clean Water Act’s goal of steadily improving the water quality in our rivers,” WNC Alliance Executive Director Julie Mayfield asserts in the announcement. The declaration goes on to note that the mill’s effluent is only about 6 percent cleaner than in 2001.
Further information on pollution in the Pigeon River includes:
—David Forbes, staff writer