Pigeon River meeting delayed

A North Carolina regulatory group has delayed a meeting originally scheduled for today regarding loosening regulations on dumping in the Pigeon River.

The virtual meeting has been postponed until April.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources was planning to conduct an online public hearing this evening to review proposed amendments to the Blue Ridge Paper Products, LLC’s (d/b/a Evergreen Packaging) effluent discharge permit.

There are concerns because the Pigeon River downstream in Hartford has become a popular whitewater rafting venue, with nearly 300,000 individuals rafting the river annually in Cocke County. The community has rallied in opposition to the proposed increased discharge.

“In the spring, COVID permitting, we intend to hold a local public hearing on the issue. Arrangements for that meeting will be announced when that meeting is scheduled,” Cocke County Mayor Crystal Ottinger said.