Yesterday in Raleigh, members of Protect Our Fresh Air and the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League observed the legal arguments presented to the judges of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. In the lawsuit Ashe County versus Ashe County Planning Board, Case No. 18-253, attorneys for the County defended the decision to deny a permit for an asphalt plant under its High Impact Land Use ordinance.
BREDL’s Therese Vick, who attended the hearing, noted that the argument centered on issues of local control, a statewide concern. She said, “Many rural counties like Ashe are defending themselves as best they can from the negative impacts of coal ash dumping, natural gas pipelines and asphalt plants. The state issues air and water permits for industrial facilities, but local governments can control where they are located.” In the Ashe County case, a disabled children’s camp is located near a proposed asphalt plant. She added, “Unique circumstances like this are best left to local elected officials.”
After the hearing, Harry Corpening of Protect Our Fresh Air said, “Elected officials are chosen by the citizenry to be responsible for what takes place with the County Government. The way the Review Board worded their ruling, the County Commissioners were taken out of this process, which is a power they do not have.”
Vick said that the lawyers for Ashe County appeared to be well prepared. A ruling is expected before the end of the year.
Protect Our Fresh Air is the Ashe County chapter of the statewide Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, founded in Ashe County in 1984.