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Public hearings scheduled on Titan draft air permit

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THIS INFORMATION FROM A NEWS RELEASE SENT TO THE WWAY NEWSCHANNEL 3 NEWSROOM

RALEIGH, NC (NCDENR) -– The N.C. Division of Air Quality has scheduled three public hearings in September on a new draft air quality permit for a proposed cement manufacturing plant in New Hanover County.

Titan America/Carolinas Cement Co. has applied for an air quality permit to construct and operate a Portland cement manufacturing plant at 6411 Ideal Cement Road in Castle Hayne. The Division of Air Quality, or DAQ, has prepared a draft permit that sets limits for all applicable air quality standards for the proposed facility.

The public hearings will provide opportunities for citizens to comment on the draft air permit for the proposed cement plant. People who wish to speak at the hearings should plan to limit their time to three minutes or less. The hearing officer will have the discretion to further limit speaking times, if necessary, to accommodate the number of speakers and time constraints. The hearings are scheduled for:

· Tuesday, Sept. 27, 3-5 p.m. and 6-10 p.m., Cape Fear Community College, North Campus, McKeithan Center, 4500 Blue Clay Road, Castle Hayne

· Thursday, Sept. 29, 6-10 p.m., UNC-Wilmington, Kenan Auditorium, 601 S. College Road, Wilmington

People attending the hearings at Cape Fear Community College should park only in non-numbered spaces and display a parking pass in their windshield, which will be available at the hearing or can be downloaded at http://www.ncair.org/permits/psd/docs/titan/Titan_Hearing_Parking_Pass.p.... At the UNC-Wilmington hearing, attendants will be on site to direct parking.

The draft permit was released on Aug. 5 and the comment period will end on Oct. 31, 2011. The total review and comment period on this permit is 88 days, which is significantly longer than the 30 days required by rules. DAQ will accept written comments emailed or postmarked by Oct. 31. Written comments should be emailed to patrick.butler@ncdenr.gov or mailed to Patrick Butler, N.C. Division of Air Quality, 3800 Barrett Dr., Suite 101, Raleigh, NC 27609.

A draft air quality permit allows for public comment and review of DAQ’s findings prior to the division deciding whether to issue the permit as written; issue the permit with modifications; or deny the permit. In addition, the project still must receive environmental permits from other state and federal agencies. The issuance of an air quality permit does not represent any commitment on the part of the state to issue any of the remaining environmental permits.

The division held public hearings on a previous draft permit for the facility in September 2009, but the application was placed on hold due to a court decision. The court determined that Titan would need to conduct a full environmental impact study before receiving any permits because it planned to accept state and local economic incentives. The company later declined the incentives and processing of the application resumed in January 2011.

Since the previous draft permit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has adopted more stringent limits on a number of air pollutants that would be emitted by the facility. The new draft permit would require the facility to meet new EPA regulations for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, greenhouse gases, mercury and other hazardous air pollutants.

Under the draft air permit, Carolinas Cement is required to comply with current state and federal rules for controlling carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, visible emissions, volatile organic compounds, greenhouse gases, mercury and other hazardous air pollutants. The plant must use state-of-the-art air pollution control devices, including bag filters, a scrubber, selective non-catalytic reduction system and lime injection. Other permit conditions require the facility operators to:

· Monitor and inspect air pollution control equipment on a set schedule;

· Conduct periodic stack testing of emissions from the kiln system;

· Operate continuous emission monitors for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, total hydrocarbons and visible emissions; and

· Comply with state limits on air toxics.

By law, the DAQ must review permits for compliance with air quality regulations. The division has no authority over zoning, land use or where a company decides to locate a facility. Local governments are responsible for regulating land use. If the facility receives all applicable permits and is constructed, it would be the state’s only cement manufacturing plant. Ideal Cement Co. has maintained a plant at the proposed site for many years, but ceased its kiln operations in 1982.

The draft permit may be viewed online at http://daq.state.nc.us/permits/psd/titan.shtml or at the following locations: DAQ Wilmington Regional Office,127 Cardinal Drive Extension, Wilmington, (910) 796-7215; and the DAQ Central Office, Permits Section, Parker Lincoln Building, 2728 Capital Blvd., Raleigh, at (919) 715-6255.

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