Let's Claim Our Future New Hanover County!
Titan America wants to develop one of the largest cement manufacturing facilities and strip mines in the nation on the shores of the Cape Fear River in Castle Hayne, New Hanover County, NC. If they succeed, it will be one of the largest sources of air pollution in our area for the next 50 years. Titan Cement will extract 13-16 millions of gallons of our local drinking water supply, while risking our health and destroying our natural resources including thousands of acres of valuable wetlands. Now is the time to unite and stand for a sustainable future for next generations.
Growing Concerns Over Our Drinking Water Supply
Concern over our region's precious groundwater and surface-water supplies is growing among local stakeholders. Climate change, sea-level rise, rapid population growth, and industrial development are among the major issues listed by Mark Hibbs in his article "Drinking Water: An Imperiled Resource." Although groundwater withdrawals are a major focus, groundwater and surface-water contamination are growing threats. North Carolina is becoming too familiar with drinking water contamination from industry- instances which are widespread and disastrous. With population growth and associated economic-development projected to boom in the coming decades, it is critical to have management tools in place to mitigate environmental harm. With this in mind, the North Carolina Coastal Federation has developed a proposal for a Model Industrial Development Special Use Permit (SUP). The Model SUP aims to create a clear and fair permit process, attract targeted industries and create a process for local oversight of heavy-polluting industries. Click here to learn more about the SUP and how you can help support the proposal!
EPA Warns State on Permit Cases!
Great news for the citizens of North Carolina. Southern Environmental Law Center and STAN partners have been working to get EPA to take action on the issues in our Titan permit appeal related to citizen access to the courts. Earlier this week, EPA sent a letter to DEQ notifying the agency that if the decision in Titan is affirmed by the appellate court, then DEQ’s permitting authority will be in jeopardy.
The issue of whether citizens have the right to challenge state-issued water and air pollution permits has come up recently in court arguments in the Blounts Creek case (referred on appeal back to Judge Berger Jr.) and Titan case (pending before the NC Court of Appeals). The state argued in its filings and before the court in the Titan case that North Carolina’s citizens did not have the right to challenge its permits and the court agreed. Now the Environmental Protection Agency has weighed in with a letter to Secretary van der Vaart stating:
“Both the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act establish minimum requirements for providing citizens with judicial access to appeal permits. Such access is a critical component of adequate state permitting programs, and must be provided by states seeking authorization from EPA to implement these programs pursuant to federal environmental laws. As explained below, the recent Administrative Law Judge and Superior Court decisions cast serious doubt on whether North Carolina’s authorized permitting programs can satisfy the minimum requirements for citizen access to judicial review of environmental permits going forward…..
Read more about this breaking news story on CRO here.