In March 1984, fifty citizens of Ashe and Watauga Counties met in the Mission House of Holy Trinity Church in Glendale Springs, North Carolina. Teachers and farmers, home- makers and merchants listened to the report of the Episcopal Church Women on the US Department of Energy's siting search for a high-level nuclear waste dump in the rain-rich east. Recognizing that the North Carolina mountains were a region at risk, the assembled group organized the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) to protect their own backyard and those of other threatened communities.
BREDL Moments Over 37 Years of Grassroots Action!
Honoring BREDL's Founder, Janet Marsh
In 1984, when the Department of Energy announced that Ashe County, NC, was being considered as the site of a high-level nuclear waste dump, Janet Marsh organized her friends and neighbors, holding the first meetings at the Holy Trinity Church of what would become the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.
1993: BREDL Symbolically "Fires" NC Solid Waste Managers
In August 1993, BREDL held a press event on the steps of the Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste Management in Raleigh. Various officals were presented with poster size pink slips. They were symbolically "fired" because of job performance regarding the Carolina Solite cement plant in Aquadale, NC, with an arsenic concentration 2 to 6 times greater than the statewide average.
Fighting Asphalt Plants - Protecting Communities
For BREDL the issue of asphalt plants first surfaced in 1994 when “Citizens for Responsible Growth” in Orange County, NC, became concerned about their air quality. In the following years many more communities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and elsewhere joined our fight to either close existing asphalt plants near residential areas, to push through stricter air quality controls in their communities and states, or to stop new asphalt industries from coming into their counties.
2000: Bredl Nature Sanctuary - A Gift of Stewardship to the Future
BREDL received a 52 acre nature sanctuary on the French Broad River overlooking the town of Marshall, 30 miles from Asheville, in the summer of 2000 as a gift from a Madison Environmental Alliance chapter member Ginny Lentz.
The Sanctuary offers an opportunity to develop the environmental education of our Earth Stage program and the positive approach of our alternative energy project.
1983: The League’s First Victory: High-level Nuclear Waste Dump Stopped!
In the final days of the 97th Congress, they passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. The President signed it into law on January 7, 1983. This legislation was designed to provide permanent storage of high-level nuclear waste in stable geologic repositories. Concerned about the possibility of their community becoming a site for the high-level nuclear waste dump, on March 15, 1984 fifty citizens of Ashe and Watauga Counties, North Carolina met in the Mission House of Holy Trinity Church in Glendale Springs and formed the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League: A Committee Opposing Nuclear Waste Storage In Ashe County.