The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and Protect Our Fresh Air have joined Ashe County’s legal challenge of an asphalt plant permit in Glendale Springs.

On January 2, 2020, the citizen groups filed a friend-of-the-court brief, known as an amicus curiae, in the Supreme Court of North Carolina. The groups' legal arguments will be considered by the high court alongside the appeal filed by the Ashe County Board of Commissioners, which also calls for denial of the county polluting industries permit.

The Commissioners have challenged the decision by the Planning Board to issue a permit since 2016. Subsequent appeals have now placed the issue before the state's highest court.

Under the Ashe County Polluting Industries Development Ordinance (PIDO), adopted in 1999, the county can protect its residents from industries which "by their very nature produce objectionable levels of noise, odors, vibrations, fumes, light, or smoke." Such industries cannot be located "within 1,000 feet, in any direction, of a residential dwelling unit or commercial building."

Lou Zeller, Executive Director of BREDL, recalling the case said, "The Planning Board dropped the ball on the question of what constitutes a commercial building, rejecting recommendations from its own staff." Zeller continued, "The Planning Board said that a barn cannot be a commercial building because it's not taxed. This is not true. Barns and their values are listed in Ashe County's property tax base. A barn lies within the 1000-foot zone."

Other issues are placed before the Supreme Court in the January 2nd brief, which states, "Due to the procedural errors and the errors on the face of the record after the Planning Director made his decision denying the PIDO permit, and the creation by the Court of Appeals thereafter of a new, highly unworkable and unwieldly review and permitting system for local governments, applicants and other interested parties, amicus curiae herein has filed a Motion to allow this brief in support of Petitioners before this Honorable Court."

The groups asked the Supreme Court to "vacate the Court of Appeals' Opinion and order the Planning Board to deny the PIDO Permit at issue, or, in the alternative, vacate the Planning Board decision and re-establish the Planning Director's denial of the PIDO Permit."