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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– Over a hundred residents of New Hanover County gathered today to rally in opposition to Titan. The cement company took a significant step towards coming to Castle Hayne earlier this week when they were issued an air quality permit by the DAQ. Protestors say they are not happy with the permit and plan to end the momentum that Titan is building.

“Why invite more pollution into our environment,” said Kevin Murphy, a local business owner. “We’re already one of the most polluted counties in the state, there’s no reason to continue this.”

Protestors say this permit will allow over 12,000,000 more pounds of pollution to enter the environment.

Doctor David Hill says these chemicals are strong contributors to human illness.

“They cause lung disease, they cause heart disease, they cause cancer,” said Hill. “We have newer evidence suggesting that they cause strokes. They seem to contribute to pre-mature birth and even spontaneous abortion. So I’m very concerned anytime somebody comes in and wants to increase the levels of those pollutants in our area.”

Titan Cement still has to go through a long local permit process, including trying to get a special use permit from New Hanover County before any of this comes to fruition.

Despite that, this group of concerned residents say they have reached a breaking point.

“There’s a lot of smart people out here and they understand what it’s going to mean to this community to bringin another polluter,” said Kayne Darrell of Stop-Titan. “We’ve just decided enough is enough.”

WWAY spoke to many people from Castle Hayne earlier in the week who say they welcome Titan Cement and the jobs that will come with the company.

Comment on this Story

  • Mike C>

    Are you well informed? Are you educated? Or are you another one of those easily excited people who are told at rallies by someone claiming to be an expert and in the know that the sky is falling so you run for cover? Much of the information you have used is decades old and does not apply to the proposed new facility by TITAN. Stop spreading gossip! Get some guts and ask some pointed questions. Maybe if the citizens of Castle Hayne and NH County were to go to TITAN without the agenda of trying to burn them at the stake, and ask in an honest fact finding discussion what TITAN was bringing to the area and how they were going to address pollution problems of past decades, they could get a lot of good, verifiable information that could put a lot of their fears to rest. But as long as fanatics and those who manipulate them for personal profit are allowed to get Media Coverage, people will remain ignorant and continue to cause harm to their environment and their economy through the lies and malicious gossip that these people propagate.

  • Mike C.

    The new Titan Plant is virtually a completely enclosed system of Manufacturing. The existing stack on the old plant that has not been in use in decades is slated to be taken down since the furnaces of the old manufacturing systems are obsolete. The new system is extremely clean. They build trout farms which they fill with their used processing water. Trout are so fragile that you can just about say boo to them and they will die. However, they thrive in these pools that have been built at other TITAN Plants which tells environmentalists that the water being returned to the wild is very, very clean. Get educated on what is and not on what was 25 or 30 years ago in the Cement Industry. It is not in Titan’s best interest to spend a couple of hundred million dollars or more on a plant that could easily be shut down by the EPA if they were to ignore the environment and pollute the land. By the way, TITAN employees, including upper management live and continue to live in close proximity to their new plants and they love their children too.

  • Mike C.

    These are Wonderful Facts that you have presented about NH County and pollution. The only problem I have is the way you have used them. Titan was not around when all of this polluting was going on and many of the chemicals you refer to are used by the plants on HWY 421 North out of Wilmington but I do not see you protesting them. Their pollution is so sever that I have been driving down Interstate 40 around 3 AM with my window down and have been brought to tears and found it difficult to breath because of the chemicals coming from the plants on HWY 421. You can drive HWY 421 and choke on the same chemical releases on almost any given night.

    Titan recognizes these pollution problems and has designed a plant to eliminate many if not all of the ways they could pollute. One thing is for sure, they offer a better plan than exists currently and you are not protesting the existing polluters. Why? Are you being paid to attack TITAN by their competitors? I only ask because I cannot find a single reason for you to suddenly take an interest in one company that is not operational or polluting but have ignored the existing companies that are polluting. Are you a paid agitator?

  • Mike C>

    Do you know these things you say about TITAN for an absolute certainty or are you just parroting what you have heard others say about them? Gossip has been the basis for most of the comments I have read so far today and most of the comments I have heard over the past months. Is there anyone out here who can produce physical evidence to validate the comments that are being made by the poorly educated in these matters? And by the way, if you do not know for certain, ask questions and stop throwing out opinion answers that only helps the hidden agenda people by masking the truth to the general reader or listener.

  • monarch.sg

    Titan has attempted to manipulate ‘the rules’ at the federal, state and local level. They have sued our citizens. They threatened our County government with legal action if they updated our zoning for heavy industry (last updated in 1969). They refuse to participate in moderated, balanced public debate on their economic benefit to this community.

    Quit attacking your neighbors and look at their actions, not words. Enough is enough. We deserve better.

  • mighty rebel

    Why is it when I read these comments, the only factual and knowledgeable ones seem to come from those who oppose the building of this plant? To suggest that a questionable number of jobs (the number, qualifications and descriptions of local hires of which Titan refuses to reveal) justifies the level of negative impacts this plant will have on our community is NOT common sense. To suggest that they are “following the law” and so we should sit back and allow a foreign corporation to dictate how things should be here and what our future should look like while they try to manipulate the rules and sue our citizens is just plain stupid, This is OUR community and the majority of us realize bringing the fourth largest cement plant – one of the dirtiest industries in the world- to our densely populated, already too polluted area on the banks of our already mercury-impaired river, within 5 miles of 8500 school children who the medical literature say are especially susceptible to the almost 12 million lbs. of 140 toxins spewing from Titans 500 ft. smokestack is NOT what I call common sense. Allowing a foreign company to destroy thousands of acres of wetlands, dig a 2500 acre mine and drain millions of gallons of water every day from our aquifer,and then leave us with the mess while they go back to Greece with their profits is not OK. The laws are NOT protecting us and we are trying to change that -legislatively at the local, state and national level and also by standing up and speaking out when we see an injustice done in our community – even when Titan tries to shut us up by suing people.
    To all those who argue for Titan without the facts – get informed and take the time to understand what it will really mean to have this billion dollar foreign bully in our backyard.

  • More Facts


    ● The EPA listed New Hanover as the #1 toxic emitting county in North Carolina out of all 100 counties in 2010 (1

    ● The EPA has also listed New Hanover as the second highest criteria pollutant emitting county in the state (behind Columbus Co.) in 2010.2

    ● New Hanover County is the second most densely populated county in NC, which means the industrial zoned areas and the biggest polluting facilities, are dangerously close to residential areas, schools, parks and athletic fields. (Where do your children play?)

    ● Under the new EPA guidelines, levels of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) in NHC were at unacceptable levels in 2010, putting the county in danger of non-attainment status. This could affect the ability to attract businesses and tourists. It could also affect our bond rating and cause financial problems for our county.3

    ● Over 61,400 tons of Criteria Pollutants were emitted in NHC in 2010. (That’s 122,868,000 lbs.!) 4

    “Criteria pollutants” are used as indicators of air quality by the EPA and include Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrous Oxide (NOx), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Lead, and Particulate Matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5).

    Over 3,000,000 pounds of hazardous/toxic pollution, which includes chemicals and carcinogens such as Benzene, Toluene, Mercury, Dioxin, Formaldehyde and Chromium, were released in 2010 in NHC!5

    ● Health Effects of Criteria Pollutants include difficulty breathing; decreased lung function; aggravated asthma; development of chronic bronchitis; irregular heartbeat; heart attacks; and premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Children and older adults are the most likely to be affected by pollution exposure. However, even if you are healthy, you may experience symptoms from exposure to elevated levels of pollution6. New studies suggest even at levels generally considered safe by federal regulations, exposure to PM 2.5 increases the risk of stroke by 34 percent.7

    ● Health Effects of Toxic Pollution include cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, birth defects and other reproductive problems, as well as a wide array of other health risks.8

    Other Facts

    ● 369,000 NC children were diagnosed with asthma in 2010. One third of all NC children visited am emergency room or urgent care facility because of asthma. Asthma is the most common chronic illness in children in the U.S. with 14 million lost school days a year and a $2 billion health care cost nationally9. Scientific studies show air pollution is a major cause of asthma, most notably SO2, NOx, and Particulate Matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5)10

    ● The EPA states children may be more susceptible than adults to the harmful effects of particulate matter pollution.10

    ● New Hanover County emissions for 2010 for these pollutants were:11

    SO2 – 21,322 tons
    NOx – 6,230 Tons
    PM 10 – 885 Tons
    PM 2.5 – 527 Tons

    ● Now the NC DAQ says its fine for Titan to add to that another:12

    438 tons/ year of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
    1,533 tons/yr of Nitrogen Oxides (NOX)
    200 tons/yr of Particulate Matter 10 – (PM 10)
    160 tons/yr of Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5)

    ● The American Lung Association states that breathing in particulate pollution can increase the risk of early death, heart attacks, strokes and emergency room visits for asthma and cardiovascular disease. They also state that the current standards set by the EPA are insufficient in protecting the health of sensitive populations – such as children and the elderly, and those with heart and lung disease.13

    ● John Walke, the Clean Air Director for the Natural Resource Defense Council, says that the federal rules are “abysmal” when it comes to protecting our children and that the laws “just don’t take into account the different susceptibility of children to pollution or the proximity of pollution sources to places children frequent”.14

    Sources for Facts

    [1] http://obsearthenergy.blogspot.com/2012/01/toxic-releases-edge-up-in-nc.html

    2 http://triad.news14.com/content/local_news/647672/columbus–new-hanover-named-top-nc-counties-for-toxic-air-pollution

    3 http://wilmingtonbiz.com/industry_news_details.php?id=2611


    4 http://xapps.enr.state.nc.us/aq/ToxicsReportServlet?ibeam=true&year=2010&physical=129&overridetype=All&toxics=all&sortorder=1&viewreport=View+Report

    5 http://xapps.enr.state.nc.us/aq/ToxicsReportServlet?ibeam=true&year=2010&physical=129&overridetype=All&toxics=all&sortorder=1&viewreport=View+Report

    6 http://www.epa.gov/oar/sect812/1990-2010/ch_apd.pdf


    7 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120213185119.htm

    8 http://www.epa.gov/oar/toxicair/newtoxics.html

    9 http://www.asthma.ncdhhs.gov/docs/factsheets/2011/ChildrenAndAsthmaInNorthCarolina.pdf

    10 http://www.epa.gov/region4/air/naaqs/asthma.htm

    11 http://xapps.enr.state.nc.us/aq/ToxicsReportServlet?ibeam=true&year=2010&physical=129&overridetype=All&toxics=all&sortorder=1&viewreport=View+Report

    12 See printouts for Titan’s Air Permit Emissions

    13 http://www.stateoftheair.org/2011/health-risks/

    14 http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/2008-12-29-newschools_N.htm

  • Health of Wilmington

    DAQ’s Mission Statement is “To Protect and Improve the Outdoor Air Quality of North Carolina”

    The NC Division of Air Quality is doing the exact opposite of their mission statement by issuing Titan Cement their air permit. The DAQ chose Titan’s profitability over 12,000 citizens’ and 450 medical professionals’ voices that demanded Titan should not be built in New Hanover County. A permitting process that does not look at the science, medical literature and the will of the citizens is a flawed process.

    New Hanover County is already the #1 toxic emitting county and the #2 most polluted county in NC (out of all 100 NC counties). It is also the second smallest county in the state.

    The Division of Air Quality has just permitted Titan Cement to emit close to 12,000,000 lbs. every year into our already overburdened air!

    Our local existing industries are already poisoning us by releasing over 61,400 tons of criteria pollutants3 and over 3 million lbs. of toxic chemicals into our air (2010 EPA data). The DAQ should do their job to protect citizens, instead of permitting more industries to cause harm. Clean and healthy, not polluted and sick should be their focus.

    Step away from the emotions and look at the facts.

    We all have a right to breath clean air, drink and swim in clean water. How can anyone dispute this?

  • Peter

    That funny that the rally held sunday should be considered negative. People concerned about more pollution. I call that work towards the greater good. We are very well informed. We are well educated . We are not afraid of a corporation with a history of high level pollution . Perhaps 1,200,000 additional pounds annually of pollutants doesn’t ring a bell. Think about this…this additional pollution will hit you where it counts….in your wallet. maybe those of you in favor can answer a question for me that Titan refuses to. What is their median salary that the people employed there will earn. Not the average…the median. I doubt if they will give you that answer too. Face it…Titan isn’t about truth and transparency….just good old fashioned greed at the expense of others.

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