Myth vs. Reality

We at Titan America are excited about our proposed Carolinas Cement Plant. From the beginning, we have promised to be responsible, contributing members of the community and careful stewards of the environment and natural resources.

We respect the fact that the community has questions about this initiative. We will continue to answer them completely and honestly. We also understand that highly technical initiatives can be misunderstood; facts are sometimes distorted and exaggerated. So, we have addressed in this document what we know to be some commonly stated myths and the facts. We are always eager to satisfy additional questions you may have regarding this project.

Please let us know what’s on your mind. Contact Bob Odom at bodom@titanamerica.com.



Myth:

Carolinas Cement will emit 263 lbs. of mercury a year and pose a serious public health risk.

Reality:

The amount is a fraction of that. Carolinas Cement has a calculated potential to emit (PTE) of 46 lbs. of mercury a year for the purposes of the air permit application. This number indicates the highest possible emission, if the plant were operating at full capacity and full production, so it’s very possible that we’ll produce less than this.

Intertox, a Seattle-based toxicology company, conducted an independent, peer-reviewed mercury study in 2008. This study was conducted before the EPA introduced the more stringent mercury levels, so their calculations were based on the old PTE for mercury of 263 lbs. per year. Scientists at Intertox concluded that the mercury emissions from the proposed plant will pose nominal risk to the public health of the Greater Wilmington community. In fact, the total estimated dose of mercury a typical Castle Hayne resident could encounter is less than the concentration of mercury in 1 ¾ teaspoons of canned lite tuna fish per month. Again, this was based on 263 lbs. per year. Now that the amount is less than 1/5 of that, the potential exposure would also be reduced accordingly.

Myth:

Carolinas Cement will undermine New Hanover County attempts to curtail a classification as a non-attainment area that fails to comply with new federal air quality standards on sulfur dioxide (SO2) adopted by the EPA in June 2010.

Reality:

Carolinas Cement has demonstrated that it will not contribute to New Hanover County’s becoming a non-attainment area through the use of a very conservative modeling system approved by both the NC Division of Air Quality and EPA. In fact, the NCDAQ could not have released the Draft Air Permit if this condition could not be met.

  • Carolinas Cement will utilize the industry’s most advanced emission control technologies to capture 88% of the SO2 it generates.
  • The rate and concentration of SO2 emissions Carolinas Cement will have are so low that they will not contribute to New Hanover County being non-attainment, nor will they hinder the County’s ability to return to attainment status as older sources begin to control their emissions.
  • Attainment status examines the concentrations of SO2 to which the public could be exposed – NOT the total pounds of SO2 emitted. Many older sources of SO2 even if they have less total emissions than Carolinas Cement contribute much more to the SO2 concentrations that could make New Hanover County non-attainment because of their facility characteristics and locations.

Myth:

Titan America is a greedy foreign company that doesn’t care about our community and will take its profits overseas.

Reality:

Titan America is headquartered in Norfolk, VA and collectively employs nearly 2,000 people throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, and Florida. Titan America is the US operations of Titan Cement Group, which is headquartered in Athens, Greece. Parent company Titan Cement has been in business since 1902.

  • Titan America will hire local people to construct and operate the plant. That money will be reinvested in the community.
  • Titan is working with Cape Fear Community College to initiate training programs that will prepare local residents for good, well-paying plant jobs.
  • Titan will pay millions in taxes each year to New Hanover County and by the time the plant is operating at full capacity, the estimated total fiscal impact to New Hanover County will exceed $120 million per year.
  • Carolinas Cement Company is enthusiastic about becoming an active member and good steward of this community.
  • After the site is mined we will be able reclaim the land to create a green space to be enjoyed by generations of New Hanover County residents for years to come.

Myth:

Carolinas Cement will have a negligible economic impact on New Hanover County.

Reality:

Carolinas Cement plans to:

  • Invest $500 million in New Hanover County to construct the plant.
  • Create 160 high-paying, skilled jobs.
  • Fill 160 positions by identifying and training talented local people for challenging and meaningful careers.
  • Create 1000 contracting jobs over the two-year construction phase. These jobs will generate a need for an additional 350-400 jobs to support the estimated annual financial impact of $180 million to the community.
  • Be the first and only cement plant in North Carolina.

Additionally:
The economic spillover effect will result in a projected 350 additional jobs created to support the operations of the facility.

By the time the plant is operating in full capacity, the estimated total fiscal impact to New Hanover County will exceed $120 million per year.

The State of North Carolina is consistently ranked among the country’s top ten states in annual cement use.

Carolinas Cement will redirect revenue currently spent on importing cement from other states and countries.

In 1990, NC cement consumption was 2.1 million metric tons; in 2005, that amount increased to 3.25 million metric tons. By 2030, that amount is expected to increase to 5.2 million metric tons. Neighboring states and imports will not meet the state's future cement needs, which are significant.

North Carolina experienced severe cement shortages in 2004-2005, which caused the cost to spike. Nobody wants to face a situation of shortages and allocation again.

Myth:

Carolinas Cement will jeopardize the health of local children and families, damage our environment, pollute our air and ruin our waterways.

Reality:

The cement industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in America and Titan America is routinely recognized for its commitment to safety and environmental sensitivity at its plants in Virginia and Florida.

This plant will be the most efficient, environmentally safe cement plant in the world and will use the industry’s most advanced emission control technologies.

Comparing the environmental and health impact of Carolinas Cement’s manufacturing technology to that of older plants is like comparing a 1975 computer to today’s fastest laptop. Stop Titan’s ad campaign that compares these methodologies is irresponsible and inaccurate.

Clean technology features to be used in the Carolinas Cement’s plant include:

  • A closed-loop system recycles all kiln dust back into the manufacturing process and final product.
  • State-of-the-art dust collector technology recycles 99.9+ percent of all particulate matter.
  • New industry standards for controls for NOx, SO2 and mercury.
  • No industrial or process water discharges will be released into groundwater or surface water sources during operations.

A peer-reviewed mercury study conducted by Intertox in 2008 examined the potential impact of 263 pounds of mercury emissions per year from the proposed plant. Intertox concluded that the total dose of mercury a local resident could encounter is less than the concentration of mercury in 1 3/4 teaspoons of canned lite tuna fish per month. Carolinas Cement has demonstrated how it will meet the new, stricter EPA limit which would result in a maximum of 46 lbs of mercury emissions per year, so the impact of mercury at these levels will be even less – equivalent to 1/3 teaspoon of canned lite tuna fish per month.

Recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) confirms that cement and concrete can play leading rules in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental challenges.

Myth:

Titan America is trying to avoid a full environmental review and is trying to rush through the regulatory process.

Reality:

The cement industry is among the most strictly regulated in the United States. Recent regulations are the strictest in the world for cement plants and the company must comply with them at all times. Carolinas Cement must secure some highly technical, comprehensive permits before beginning plant construction, including an Air Permit from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (Division of Air Quality), a water discharge permit from NCDWQ and wetlands permits from the federal government (Corps of Engineers) and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The State of North Carolina spent more than 36 months processing our air permit applications with studies and input from numerous groups before releasing a second and revised draft air permit in August 2011. The state’s handling of the air permitting process has been comprehensive, transparent and exhaustive in its attention to detail. This may well be the most carefully examined permit application ever processed by the State of North Carolina.

Throughout the permitting process, Titan America has consistently stated that it will meet every applicable federal and state guideline in place now and in the future.

Myth:

Titan America is a corporate bully that uses defamation lawsuits to intimidate and silence opponents, depriving them of their constitutional right to free speech.

Reality:

Titan America cherishes our nation’s freedoms. We heartily support the First Amendment, and applaud those individuals who voice their opinions.

The defamation lawsuit was not an easy or casual decision. However, for more than two years now, a few individuals have knowingly spread gross inaccuracies and misleading and slanderous reports against our company. How long would you tolerate someone spreading lies about your business, your family or your very character?

It's bad enough that our good name and reputation have been consistently called into question. But more importantly, the citizens of our community are being misled with lies and gross distortions.

We believe people need to be held accountable for their actions and their discourse, just as Carolinas Cement is held accountable to operate responsibly and within the rigorous constraints of state and federal regulations. We welcome questions and factual, fair discussion. But we will not tolerate lies nor scare tactics nor the bullies that perpetrate them.

Myth:

We don’t need a cement plant here. There is no shortage of cement in North Carolina, with seven plants operating within 400 miles of the state. Why can’t they just locate somewhere else?

Reality:

North Carolina is the largest cement consumer in the country with no cement plant of its own. Cement plants that are as much as 175 miles away don’t have the capacity to meet future demand. Cement has a high cost of transportation, which means regions that import cement from great distances are more vulnerable to shortages and high prices. North Carolina and the southeastern US did experience a cement shortage during the last building boom in 2004 to 2006 which resulted in serious problems, such as construction delays, product allocation and increased prices. The Carolinas Cement Plant will keep construction costs down and help meet the future demand.

Because cement is the main ingredient in concrete, it is critical for our economic prosperity and future growth. If we’re not careful, our dependence on foreign cement could rival our dependence on foreign oil. Having this essential building material in our state will contribute to a healthy local, regional and national economy. It is also important to note that as more cement production leaves our shores for other countries, global pollutants, such as mercury and CO2, will increase because these foreign countries will not have the environmental regulations to reduce pollution. Furthermore, shipping cement from overseas increases energy use.

Myth:

Titan America is routinely cited for violating regulations at its cement plants in Florida and Virginia, which demonstrates a disregard for public health and environmental sensitivity.

Reality:

Titan America takes any regulatory violation very seriously and works continuously to strengthen and enhance our environmental systems so we can operate our plants as cleanly and efficiently as possible.

In June 2011, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issued warnings to some of Titan America’s ready-mix concrete plants that involved errors in record-keeping or safety protocols. None of these violations actually impacted air, water or the environment.

Titan America has taken corrective action by implementing a state-of-the-art computer database and tracking system to ensure that all aspects of operations are in compliance with State and Federal environmental laws and regulations. This system has significantly improved our permit tracking and reporting capabilities.

Additional facts about our regulations and standards

Air Quality

  • All of our emissions meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and the state Air Toxics Standards, which are health-based standards.
  • All of our emissions also meet the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) ensuring that CCC will have emission controls capable of meeting limits that are the best in the industry.
  • A closed-loop system recycles all kiln dust back into the manufacturing process and final product.
  • State-of-the-art dust collector technology recycles 99.9+ percent of all particulate matter.
  • Intertox, a scientific consulting and research firm, conducted an independent risk assessment of the potential mercury emissions of the proposed plant and found that emissions posed no threat to public health.

Water Quality

  • No industrial or process water discharges will be released into groundwater or surface water sources during operations.
  • Spill and pollution prevention controls will be employed to eliminate fuel or chemical releases into the environment.
  • A water recycling system will be employed to store and reuse excess process and cooling water within cement production areas. Non-contact storm water will be managed using best management practices, including pervious pavements, bio-retention areas, and infiltration galleries.
  • The quarry adjacent to the Carolinas Cement project has been actively mined for more than 40 years, with no threat to the area water supply.

Wetlands

  • Depending on the final approved quarry footprint and the actual impacts, Carolinas Cement will invest up to $130 million on wetlands mitigation and restoration.
  • The goal is to work collaboratively with the state and conservation groups to develop an approach that meets overall larger mitigation strategies and conservation goals.