Local - August 6
2:00 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Public Officials Absent from Public Hearing on Titan Cement Plant

Listen to the audio version here.

More than 400 people attended a public hearing that the state’s Division of Air Quality, or DAQ, held at UNCW last night. About 70 spoke out about an air permit extension application from cement manufacturer Titan America.  If granted, the permit would loosen emission standards for the company’s proposed Castle Hayne cement plant. While about 55 publicly urged the DAQ to deny the permit and 16 others spoke up in support of Titan, the one sentiment both camps share is dismay that zero elected officials attended the hearing.

Speakers ranged from 10-year-olds to septuagenarians and included local business owners, doctors, professors, parents, teachers, environmentalists and UNCW students. Supporters of Titan, including Ronald Sparks, a physicist, engineer and former Wilmington City Councilman, argue that the company would still be compliant with new federal standards adopted by the EPA last year.

"I’m embarrassed that nobody elected is here tonight. But I do believe that the high degree of scrutiny of this plant on this site of the ideally designed cement plan--this scrutiny will ensure that this plant is the cleanest plant in this industry."

Many Stop Titan activists showed up sporting the group’s signature red tee shirts.  Supporters such as Wilmington resident Neil Taft say the extension would allow for more than 22 additional tons of particulate matter, which has been shown to negatively affect human health, to be released into the coastal region’s air and water stream.

"Two things really, really speak loud to me. One is the tall smokestacks, and the other is the lack of political and civic leaders here tonight… I am amazed."

The DAQ will accept additional written comments until August 9.

TO FILE COMMENTS WITH THE DAQ:

The DAQ will accept written comments postmarked no later than August 9, 2013.  All comments regarding this project, submitted both before and after the public hearing date, should be submitted to the hearing officer, Mr. Steve Hall at steve.hall@ncdenr.gov or:

NCDENR, Division of Air Quality
Raleigh Regional Office
Attention: Steve Hall
3800 Barrett Drive, Suite 101
Raleigh, North Carolina 27609

Materials used by the DAQ in making this Preliminary Determination are available for public inspection during normal business hours at the following locations:

Website: http://www.ncair.org/permits/psd/titan.shtml

or

NCDENR, Division of Air Quality
Air Permits Section
217 West Jones Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27603

or

NCDENR, Divsion of Air Quality Wilmington Regional Office
127 Cardinal Drive Extension
Wilmington, North Carolina 28405