Public hearing on Titan Cement's air quality permit

The five-year battle continues:

Monday’s hearing—to be held at 6 p.m. at Kenan Auditorium, on the campus of UNCW—will decide whether Titan is awarded an extension to meet revised guidelines that dictate how emissions from such plants are monitored. According to a notice of the hearing, which is being conducted by the N.C. Division of Air Quality, those revisions would allow Titan to increase the plant’s annual emissions of fine particles by 22 tons per year and coarse particles by 10 tons per year.

While this article does give a nod to the StopTitan network, the bulk of the piece appears to be an interview with Bob Odom. As such, there is no mention of the SLAPP suits that were filed against a couple of concerned citizens, making these statements disingenuous at best:

Looking ahead to a public hearing Monday—on a request for an amended air quality permit the company was awarded a year and a half ago—Odom, when asked what he expects to come of the hearing, summed up his answer with the following description: “A lot of rhetoric, a lot of emotion, and really no facts.”

“That’s what’s going to happen Monday,” he predicted, noting three previous hearings held prior to the initial permit award. “But the state wants to give everyone a chance to voice their opinion so the population can let them know how they feel about it.

While he says he understands and appreciates such concerns from the public, Odom said, “‘Stop Titan’ has done a great job of scaring people. You’re scaring them, but you’re not giving any facts."

The only one who has engaged in scare tactics is Titan itself. SLAPP suits are designed for one reason only, to keep people from speaking out from fear of being financially ruined by big corporations that have crack legal teams already on their payroll.

Any reporting that leaves that part out is simply not reporting at all.


Please Mr. Titan

Can you tell me exactly how much mercury you'll be pumping into the air and into the Cape Fear River? I want to be able to explain to my brother whether his planned move to the Wilmington area will simply aggravate his own neurological disorder or whether it will also damage the brains of his children and grandchildren.

Please Mr. Protzman

If you're going to put human welfare and environmental protection ahead of corporate profits, I am afraid that we can not let you be in the NC GOP. ;-)

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Air vs water

This is one of the little tricks Titan has tried to pull. Since the bulk of the mercury they'll be emitting will go into the air via particulate matter, Titan claimed the Division of Water Quality had no business trying to tie waterborne methyl mercury to any of Titan's emissions, as there isn't sufficient (or so Titan claims) scientific evidence of the link between the two types of mercury.

And since the Division of Air Quality isn't supposed to be concerned about water issues, the process of atmospheric mercury settling and being converted to waterborne organic methyl mercury (which is the main danger we face from mercury) is lost somewhere between the two Divisions.

It's a clever approach. But it also reveals that Titan isn't concerned about public health, only figuring out ways to successfully dodge regulations and misinform the public.