WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A revised air quality permit means Titan America has more time to start construction on the cement plant it wants to build in Castle Hayne and a higher limit for emissions from the proposed facility.
"We are very pleased that the NC Division of Air Quality (DAQ) recognizes the merits of our Carolinas Cement project and has agreed to extend our air permit for an additional 18 months," Carolinas Cement General Manager Bob Odom said in a statement. "This modification to our air permit does not change the fact that Carolinas Cement will operate within the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), will consistently work to ensure the safety of public health and the environment, and will operate the cleanest, most advanced cement plant in the world."
The NC Division of Air Quality approved the permit for Titan America/Carolinas Cement Co. and the Portland cement manufacturing facility it plans to operate at 6411 Ideal Cement Road. The revisions also bring the facility's air permit limits in line with new requirements set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The Division of Air Quality initially issued an air permit for the proposed cement plant in February 2012, but the permit was set to expire at the end of August 2013 if Titan had not yet begun construction of the facility. Titan has not begun construction. The permit revisions issued Thursday extend Titan's authorization to construct for an additional 18 months.
In a statement Titan said it requested the extension in April because it could not comply with the construction timeline because of a lawsuit filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center against DAQ.
The DAQ says the revised permit also changes the facility's limits for particulate emissions in light of recent changes in methods that the EPA allows cement plant operators to use in calculating their emissions. The plant would not actually be changing its emissions controls, but the EPA changed the averaging time for calculating emissions, which results in a higher limit for annual emissions. Under the permit, Titan's emissions limits are increased by 22 tons/year for fine particles (PM 2.5) and by 10 tons/year for coarse particles (PM 10).
The division held a public hearing on the revised permit on Aug. 5 at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and accepted written comments until Aug. 9. Click here to see the permit, the hearing officer's report and other documents related to the proposed plant on the Division of Air Quality's website.