The plant would be one of the largest cement plants in the U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal. It would produce an estimated 2.3 million tons of Portland cement per year. Portland cement, a mixture of limestone, clay and sand, is a basic ingredient in concrete and is widely used in construction of roads and bridges.
While Titan claims that the plant will create about 160 permanent jobs, the cement kiln and mining operation also would spew thousands of tons a year of hazardous air pollutants and acid gases including mercury, ammonia and hydrochloric acid. The mining and manufacturing operation would harm the air, water, wetlands and health of the surrounding community.
Titan is seeking an air emissions permit from the N.C. Division of Air Quality and federal permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to strip mine wetlands.
It’s no surprise that environmental groups and concerned citizens trying to protect their community have had to go to court to force Titan to follow environmental laws in planning the project. Consider the company’s rhetoric: A commentator on the Carolinas Cement blog on Nov. 26 2010 described environmentalism as “a societal cancer —a malignancy invading our cultural and economic tissue” and a “pernicious spreading evil.” Does that sound like a company concerned about the levels of mercury in the Northeast Cape Fear River?