Administrative Law Judge Phil Berger Jr., the son of one of the state’s most powerful politicians, heard the case in late January, less than a month after being appointed to the post. At issue is a state permit issued to Martin Marietta Minerals Inc. that would allow the company to pump 12 million gallons of wastewater a day from a new marine limestone mine into the Blounts Creek Watershed.
In his ruling on the permit challenge Berger Jr. sided with the data submitted by Martin Marietta in their application, finding that the discharge “will have no likely significant adverse effects on aquatic life.” The ruling cited scientific data supplied to Martin Marietta by CZR Incorporated of Wilmington.
Of course he did. Martin-Marietta spent good money paying for that fictional data, and it would be an insult to ignore it. Besides, you can't make an industrial omelette without breaking a few ecosystems and commercial fish spawning grounds: