South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

Concerned Citizens Initiate ESA Legal Process Over Proposed Dollar General
Posted: May 8, 2020

For immediate release

Concerned Citizens of Transylvania County has filed its notice of intent to litigate under Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act.

Opponents of a proposed Dollar General in a mountain valley just south of Brevard, North Carolina have filed a formal notice of intent to sue the store’s developer, Transylvania County, and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality over violations of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and its implementing regulations. This “60-day notice” is the compulsory first step in ESA citizen suit litigation.

The proposed store—which would be the corporation’s seventh location in the County—is currently under construction at Becky Mountain Road and Highway 276, on a property adjacent to Hogsed Creek, approximately 150 yards upstream from the Creek’s confluence with the French Broad River.

According to the ESA notice letter, should the project go forward in its present form, construction activities and stormwater discharges at the site will result in unlawful harm to a nearby population of Appalachian Elktoe mussels, a species listed and protected under the Endangered Species Act. The primary reasons of such harm, according to the letter, are that the retail location is being constructed entirely within the floodplain of Hogsed Creek and without any permanent system for managing and treating runoff.

The notice was filed on behalf of the Concerned Citizens of Transylvania County by the South Carolina Environmental Law Project (SCELP), a nonprofit public interest law firm.

“I was convinced that the days of needlessly developing in flood prone areas were coming to an end, but then there is this project. Not only does this Dollar General and its parking lot have to be elevated out of the floodplain through fill, but that disturbance is happening beside one of the very few locations in the area with a known population of endangered species. It’s tough to understand,” said Michael Corley, Upstate Director of SCELP.

The Concerned Citizens of Transylvania County intend to file a citizen suit under Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act in 60 days if the project continues on its present trajectory. This legal action comes after citizen efforts to find an alternative location for the store were rebuffed by Dollar General.


MEDIA ALERT: Becky Mountain Dollar General Press Conference


WHAT: The Concerened Citizens of Transylvania County will announce their intent to file a citizen suit under the Endangered Species Act over a proposed Dollar General along highway 276 just south of Brevard, North Carolina.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 12:00 p.m.

WHERE: Becky Mountain & Mill Cove Road. This event will adhere to the state’s social distancing protocols.

WHO: Remarks will be delivered by:
- Christy Blakely on behalf of Citizens of Transylvania County
- Michael Corley, the Upstate Director of the South Carolina Environmental Law Project
- Brevard City Councilman and mayor pro tem Mac Morrow
- Woody Platt, Brevard resident and the lead singer of the Grammy-winning Steep Canyon Rangers
- Additional speakers TBA

WHY: Construction activities and stormwater discharges for the proposed store will result in unlawful harm to a nearby population of Appalachian Elktoe mussels, a species protected by the Endangered Species Act, according to the Concerned Citizens of Transylvania County’s notice of intent to litigate under Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act.

Media contact:
Michael Corley, Esquire
Upstate Director
South Carolina Environmental Law Project
[email protected]
(864) 412-7921

The South Carolina Environmental Law Project protects the natural environment of South Carolina by providing legal services and advice to environmental organizations and concerned citizens and by improving the state’s system of environmental regulation.

Construction activities at the site of the proposed Dollar General at Becky Mountain Road and Highway 276

Appalachian Elktoe Mussel. Photo by Gary Peeples, USFWS.

In 2019, the Transylvania Times called the return of mussel to the French Broad River, previously considered extinct from the river, the County’s conservation success story of the decade.

The return of the endangered mussel to the French Broad River is a positive indicator of improved water quality and reduced pollution in the river but could once again be threatened should the Dollar General project continue as planned.