THE FOLLOWING IS A NEWS RELEASE FROM “STOP TITAN,” A GROUP TRYING TO STOP THE CONSTRUCTION OF A CEMENT PLANT IN NEW HANOVER COUNTY:
WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — Titan America, which is proposing a massive Portland cement manufacturing plant and mine in Wilmington is giving residents additional reason to fear their new corporate neighbor. The manufacturing giant was cited for numerous environmental violations spanning several years and now has admitted to those violations in an agreement, called a Special Order of Consent, with the State of Virginia. Titan’s ready mix cement plant operations in the tidewater state were cited for numerous violations including, but not limited to, discharging contaminated sediments and industrial discharges into local waterways, and deficiencies in Titan’s monitoring procedures and permit requirements.
Since Titan proposed their project in 2008, Wilmington-area residents have been expressing concerns about the plans to locate the fourth-largest cement kiln in the country on the scenic banks of the Northeast Cape Fear River. In fact, a recent poll revealed 73 percent of New Hanover County residents support delaying state permits until all environmental and human health effects are fully explored. The recent revelation of violations in Virginia adds validity to residents’ concern.
“These recent violations are highly alarming,” said Kelly Stryker, a mother and supporter of Stop Titan Action Network (STAN). “Cement plants rank as one of the largest sources of industrial pollution and airborne mercury in the nation. Titan wants to build their North Carolina mega-cement plant and mine along a mercury-impaired river, in a coastal community and within two miles of our children’s schools. Despite promises to be a good, corporate neighbor, Titan has refused to tell us key information about how this project will affect our local air and water. They are suing a pediatrician and local mom for speaking out against their company, and they’ve even threatened to sue our local planning department. And now, we see pages upon pages of environmental and compliance citations in other U.S. locations. This is not my definition of a good, corporate neighbor.
In the 22-page citation issued by Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality to Titan Virginia Ready-Mix LLC, the State Air Pollution Control Board and State Water Control Board document Titan’s violations of air regulations and permits and state water control laws. Specifically, Titan Virginia was cited for impairing oxygen and organism levels in the Elizabeth River, wastewater discharge to a drinking water source, failure to use fresh buffers for pH calibration as required by the EPA, and sheet flow discharge into State waters due to improper cleaning of equipment, which is a repeat offense for Titan Virginia. The State of Virginia fined Titan, a foreign-owned, multi-billion dollar corporation, $74,000 for its violations.
The recent citations add to the list of violations that Titan America has incurred among its manufacturing locations in Virginia and Florida. In Florida, Titan destroyed 1,416 acres of wetlands in order to expand its mining operations and has been implicated for groundwater contamination and other violations. An ongoing lawsuit in Florida accuses Titan and other mining companies for an alleged price-fixing scheme. That suit still is pending.