Groups Work Together to Oppose Titan Cement
Titan America wants to build one of the largest cement manufacturing and strip mine facilities in the nation on the shores of the Northeast Cape Fear River, a resource of national importance. If they succeed, it will be one of the largest sources of air pollution in our area for the next 50 years.
The proposed facility poses significant public health risks for the community, will negatively affect the regional economy and will destroy over 1,000 acres of irreplaceable wetlands, wildlife habitat and potentially harm critical surface and ground water within the northeast Cape Fear River ecosystem.
In response to Titan’s plans, citizen activists have organized a groundswell of opposition to the plant and created a website, to serve as an informational portal for people concerned about the effects of this project. The federation, along with Cape Fear River Watch, PenderWatch & Conservancy, Citizens Against Titan, The North Carolina Chapter of Sierra Club, Duke University Environmental Law and Policy Clinic and the Southern Environmental Law Center formed the Stop Titan Action Network (STAN) coalition to fight this foreign industrial corporation. For over four years, the federation and its allies have engaged people, local business owners, scientists and a large coalition of local medical providers, and other groups to voice their opposition to this project starting with local county commissioners, to Raleigh’s state leaders and elected legislators and into Washington, DC to testify before Congress. These efforts continue to increase the opposition to this project in order to protect air, our water, public health, local economy and natural resources that ensure the quality of life along our coastal region.
This effort has been funded by people, organized non-profits and a grant of $1.2 million dollars from the Educational Foundation of America.
Groups appeal Titan’s air permit
In August 2011, the N.C. Division of Air Quality
issued a revised draft air permit for this project which was followed
by three public hearings in Wilmington. Over 700 people attended these
hearings and the state Division of Air Quality received over 1,100
written comments, most of which were in opposition to Titan’s air
permit. Despite overwhelming public pressure, the state’s Division of
Air Quality issued a final permit in February 2012 and in June the
Southern Environmental Law Center filed an appeal
of that permit on behalf of the federation and other groups.
This five-year fight is far from over and the federation, along with its coalition partners, continues to build support and develop strategies to ultimately stop this plant from affecting the region for generations. In order to prevail we need your support and participation in this important issue for our entire coast. For more information and details on this issue email our Southeast Region Coastal Advocate Mike Giles or call him at 910.509.2838.
In 2011 by passing the Senate Bill 110 the N.C. General Assembly repealed a thirty year old ban on hardened structures and allowed up o four "test" terminal groins to be built in North Carolina. Four permit applications for construction of a new terminal groin have been submitted to the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ district office: Figure Eight Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach and Bald Head Island. Read more.
Federation, Partners Form Plan to Aid Impaired Creeks
The federation, N.C. Division of Water Quality, Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington worked together to develop a comprehensive voluntary watershed restoration plan to reduce pollution in Bradley and Hewletts Creeks.
Stormwater runoff is the primary cause of pollution in the creeks. Plagued with high levels of fecal bacteria, shellfish closures and swimming advisories are common. Intense urbanization in the creeks’ watersheds has hardened the natural landscape, limiting the land’s capacity to infiltrate and store rainfall. Instead of soaking into the ground and being taken up by vegetation, a much larger proportion of rain now quickly runs over the surface of the urban landscape and into the creeks. This stormwater runoff picks up bacteria as it goes.
Wilmington and its partners have developed this model plan that focuses on reducing the amount of runoff that enters the creeks. Restoring water quality in these creeks will be a long-term, multi-decade effort but the partners are optimistic and enthusiastic about the potential of this plan.
Instead of attempting to eliminate all sources of bacteria, this plan tries to reduce the transport of bacteria by reducing the volume of runoff. Its goal is to reduce the volume of runoff by the amount that was generated by land uses in 1981, when shellfish waters were open to harvest.
The plan focuses on using techniques that reduce stormwater runoff by infiltrating it back into the ground.
To restore the creeks, the plan relies on watershed-wide collaborations that integrate the activities, efforts and resources of various individuals, organizations and government agencies.
It recommends six management objectives and 35 specific actions to accomplish the goal. The objectives are:
- Continue existing programs that address water-quality impairments in both watersheds.
- Determine appropriate water quality classifications and designated uses where water quality impairment exists.
- Reduce the transport of bacteria from land to water by reducing the volume of stormwater runoff.
- Focus stormwater reduction efforts in locations where they yield the greatest and most cost effective stormwater volume reductions.
- Form and maintaining partnerships to carry out the plan.
- Evaluate plan success and modifying these strategies and programs as needed.
The plan also includes a set of design standards to foster the use of sustainable stormwater-management devices in city street improvement projects and conceptual drawings for several priorities retrofit sites within the watershed.