Today the grassroots group, Citizens Against Titan will present Hanover County Commissioners with a petition signed by over 5,000 concerned citizens. The proposed cement plant to be built in Castle Hayne, north of Wilmington, would likely emit hundreds of pounds of mercury annually, along with a number of other greenhouse gases. Much like the coal used to power the plant, limestone the main ingredient in cement, also contains mercury. This makes the cement industry one of the nations top mercury polluters.
In a diverse ecosystem like the one found on the Cape Fear (where the plant is expected to be built), an increase in mercury levels will lead to higher levels of mercury in the surrounding fish populations. If the fish is consumed, the mercury can be hazardous to both pregnant women and small children. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 8% of women that are of childbearing age have enough mercury in their system to put an infant at risk of cognitive and developmental damage. Studies have also shown that higher concentrations of mercury in adults can lead to an increase in the chance of heart disease.
In a letter dated October 2009, EPA officials raised doubts that the plant would be able to meet the new federal air standards. EPA engineers estimated that the plant would emit 263 pounds of mercury annually, that's 230 pounds over the new federal standard. Without proper scrubbing technology the EPA also estimates that the facility will continually emit levels of sulfur dioxide over the federal guidelines. The corporation also has a record of polluting the environment. In 2007, a federal judge shut down a Titan subsidiary's quarry after it was linked to contaminating water sources in the Miami-Dade area.
Without a grassroots movement, the Titan Corporation will profit off the destruction of our environment and health of our citizens. If you would like to lend your support please attend tonight's rally. The specifics are below.
When: MONDAY, February 1st, 4:45 pm to 6:30 pm
Where: 3rd and Princess St. Wilmington, NC in front of the County Courthouse
CORRECTION: The post originally stated the plant would be built on the Neuse; it is proposed for the NE Cape Fear River.