New Hanover Co. commissioners delay National Gypsum incentives decision


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Dormant for nine years, the National Gypsum plant on Sunnyvale Drive could soon come alive.

New Hanover County commissioners are considering a $350,000 incentive package to bring the company back to Wilmington. If this happens, it would create 51 new jobs with an average salary of $57,000.

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“Manufacturing jobs, excellent jobs, excellent pay, great company known for its good retention of employees and good benefits,” said Scott Satterfield, the CEO of Wilmington Business Development.

But any economic benefits have to be weighed against possible environmental impacts.

Formaldehyde emissions are a by-product of the company’s operations.

State representative Deb Butler, former Wilmington mayor Harper Peterson, and others spoke out at Monday’s commission meeting.

“Where it’s located and the dramatic increase in the emissions of formaldehyde with their new permit raises questions. None of these questions have been raised, introduced to staff or the commissioners,” Peterson said.

The EPA says exposure to the chemical can irritate the skin, eyes, nose, and throat.

“We’re in a new age, this is a new landscape. This isn’t 1990, or ’80, or ’70, okay, this is 2018. Environmental questions are at the top of the list,” Peterson said.

Satterfield says he hopes that the commissioners can get the answers they need and keep the ball rolling on National Gypsum’s return.

“They operated here for a long time and clearly, they have permits in place to continue to operate. We’ll see where it goes from here,” Satterfield said.

Commissioners will discuss the subject again within 30 days.

Wilmington City Council is also considering an incentive grant, which will be discussed during a public hearing on Tuesday.