For the second time in three years, state legislators could make a law to slow or even stop the development of a controversial project in our area.
It was standing room only at a state senate committee hearing in Raleigh Tuesday.
Most of the audience was from a busload of New Hanover County residents opposed to Titan America’s plan to build a cement plant in Castle Hayne.
“We hope they’re gonna pass this moratorium. We think it’s absolutely necessary to get all the economic and health impacts evaluated,” said Joel Bourne.
Senator Julia Boseman filed a bill last week calling for a moratorium on cement plant permitting and construction until September 1, 2010, thus giving time for a legislative commission to study the issue.
“We need to look at this project as a whole: the effects of the mercury emissions, the effect it could have on thousands of kids that go to school within a few-mile radius, the effect it will have on fishery,” Boseman said.
But Titan reported they have done and will do everything state and federal regulators ask of them, including a pledge to adhere to the most stringent pollution standards possible, even as the environmental protection agency is expected to lower the amount of mercury a plant can emit.
“I feel very comfortable that we will not be putting the community at risk, because at the end of the day, 160 of my people and their families will be living right there,” said Marino Papzoglou, Titan’s business development director.
However, Boseman and members of Stop Titan said jobs should not come at the cost of the environment, quality of life and other industries and economic development in our area.
They have precedent on their side when it comes to a moratorium. A 2006 landfill moratorium coupled with public opposition eventually forced Hugo Neu to scrap its plans for a scrap heap in the Brunswick county town of Navassa.
But the head of Titan Subsidiary Carolinas Cement says moratorium or not, his company will push on.
Members of the senate agriculture/environment/natural resources committee today asked for more hearings on Senator Boseman’s moratorium bill. There is no word on if, or when, more hearings or a vote on the bill may be held.