Blue Ridge Defense League turns 30

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Mar. 12 | Modified: Mar. 12

To commemorate its 30 years of protecting our most precious natural resources, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League is collecting stories and photographs to reflect on the organization’s illustrious past.

The BREDL is a regional, community-based, non-profit environmental organization. The organization’s founding principles are earth stewardship, environmental democracy, social justice and community empowerment, according to the organization’s website.

Almost 120 chapters of the league have been created since the first formed in Watauga County, according to member Sandy Adair.

“These 120 groups have worked on very diverse issues around environmental justice from pig families to nuclear issues with amazing results,” Adair said.

Watauga County’s first chapter was formed to protest the possible construction of a high-level nuclear waste dump site in Ashe County. The community’s response was overwhelming. Adair said more 27,000 citizens signed a petition to thwart the efforts.

“We were quickly deleted from the list of 10 possible sites,” Adair said.

Since this monumental victory, the league remained committed.

“(Our) final project was also nuclear,” Adair said.

From 1990-91, the league worked with the Public Citizen’s Mass Project and other grass roots organizations to close down the Brunswick I and II nuclear reactor until “significant reactor problems were corrected.”

“Some of these results were often nationally significant,” Adair said. “Most of this is not known by our local citizens.”

To submit any stories and testimonials (in any format) concerning the league’s history, contact Kathleen Dunnagan at (919) 417-4939 or by email at (katedunnagan@gmail.com)

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