Environmental Lawyers Successful in PCS Phosphate Permitting Matter


Environmental regulatory agencies are charged with weighing the country’s need for limited resources beside the country’s equally important commitment to sustaining an ecosystem. So when a company that depends on cultivating those resources has to appear before those agencies, it needs legal counsel with extensive, specific experience.

PCS Phosphate turned to Brooks Pierce partner George House.

PCS Phosphate has been mining continuously in Beaufort County since 1964. With existing sites nearing exhaustion, the Company began pursuing a federal permit to expand mining operations in 2000. Without a permit, the company has stated that mining operations would terminate by 2011.

Marking the conclusion of a nine-year process, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Environmental Protection Agency concurred in the issuance of a permit to our client, PCS Phosphate, Inc., that would allow approximately 37 years (11,000 acres) of additional mining of the Company’s phosphate reserves in Beaufort County, NC. George House and several other Brooks Pierce attorneys worked extensively on the matter, emphasizing both the Company’s good environmental record of reclamation and mitigation for environmental impacts, and the importance of the Company to the economy of Eastern N.C.  

The permit agreement saved the jobs of 2,100 local employees and contractors.

George has a long standing interest in agriculture.  His family has been farming in North Carolina since 1720 (pursuant to a land grant from the Lord Proprietors).  Growing up, he helped his father grow tobacco and peanuts, raise cattle, and run a fertilizer distribution business.

George was first licensed in Virginia and served four years active duty as a US Army Judge Advocate. Upon leaving the service, he returned to North Carolina and began practicing environmental law.  He is an amateur naturalist with a strong passion for protecting the natural heritage of our state.  He has been instrumental in helping build the NC Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh, one of the top three science museums in America, and serves as Chairman of the museum’s Advisory Commission.  George lives on a farm near Greensboro and tends to his own family cattle herd and vineyard.

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