PO Box 88 ~ Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone (336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email:


For Immediate Release: November 18, 2011

Therese Vick (919)345-3673
Beverly Kerr (336)376-9060

North Carolina Environmental Management Commission Rules in South Atlantic Galvanizing Case

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League Request for Documents Upheld

Raleigh- Yesterday, the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission issued a declaratory ruling agreeing with the North Carolina Division of Air Quality’s (DAQ) decision to release improperly withheld information on emissions produced by South Atlantic Galvanizing’s (SAG) facility in Graham, N.C. SAG had asked the Commission to issue a declaratory ruling against DAQ’s decision. This re-examination of the issue was prompted by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) requesting documents supporting the Winston-Salem Regional Office’s 2006 decision to keep emissions information confidential as SAG requested. Therese Vick BREDL staff and author of the document request said, “State and federal law preclude keeping emissions information confidential. DAQ Director Sheila Holman did the proper thing by agreeing to release the documents. Director Holman acted in the public’s interest.”

During the lengthy debate, several Commissioners commented on the importance of access to public information. Dr. Ernest Larkin stated, “Clearly this information was received as pertinent information. We need to think about fairness to the public. That’s the spirit in which we need to look at this request.” Commission Chair Stephen Smith remarked: “Strong and good public law is crucial to the operation of good government.”

Beverly B. Kerr, BREDL Communications Coordinator/Community Organizer and neighbor to SAG’s facility said, “It took BREDL’s challenge and a judicial determination to lift the inappropriate veil of secrecy that has been in place since 2006. Now South Atlantic Galvanizing plant emissions will no longer be hidden away from the public. The members of the community around the plant and especially the Neighborhood Environment Watch members thank the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission for their declaratory ruling that sets right this wrong to the public. Now a proper investigation of the permitting process for South Atlantic Galvanizing can be carefully considered. We also thank Therese Vick, BREDL Community Organizer, who uncovered the secrecy pledge between NC Division of Air Quality and South Atlantic Galvanizing. Our next step is to request state air pollution testing at South Atlantic Galvanizing. ”

(An earlier test conducted by the Winston-Salem Regional Office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources tested only total particulates. The methodology for the test was flawed.)