Double standard on coastal polluters?

Received this letter via email today. It's hard to argue with the logic.

Dear Governor Perdue:

My reaction was one of surprise when I read how you swiftly and effectively stepped in and stopped PCS Phosphates from building their plant in Morehead City. Try to imagine how coastal residents like me would feel reading a story about how our governor intervened to protect the citizens because she “was responding to concerns of local residents ... about overwhelming opposition to the proposal”. Imagine how the thousands of folks living here in New Hanover County who have written you letters, called your office, rallied, volunteered, pleaded with your staff, gathered petitions, collected supporting scientific data and asked you to meet with them feel after reading this news.

While it is certainly inspiring to see democracy at work in Carteret County and we are all happy to see our governor step in to protect the interests of the citizens she represents, I can’t help but wonder why you would intervene on their behalf and yet refuse to address the Titan Cement issue for the past two and a half years. Clearly, the impacts of PCS Phosphates don’t come close to the impacts a massive cement plant would have on a community, and yet the citizen outcry that compelled you to get involved in Morehead did not do the same further down the coast.

I have written to you several times requesting a meeting. I am one of many who have asked that you please take a little bit of time to sit down with citizens of New Hanover County and let us tell you why we don’t want Titan Cement in our community. My letters explained to you how we have devoted countless hours to educating ourselves and our neighbors about the true impacts of cement plants on communities and then worked with our elected officials at the local, state and national level to try to change what we perceive to be a grave injustice – allowing the insatiable appetite for profit of a billion dollar foreign corporation to take precedent over the wishes of the people who live, work and raise their families here.

We have the right to insist we have clean, healthy air to breath, safe water to drink, swim and fish in, and a future that ensures our children will have the same. We believe, based on scientific evidence and medical research, that building the fourth largest cement plant in the nation here will deny us those rights. We have also offered you convincing evidence that, for this project, the regulatory process currently in place will not do enough to protect those rights. We have met with your staff, but your involvement has been frustratingly absent.

I have been involved for three years in this ongoing battle because I’ve always believed that the people DO have the ability to make change. Yet, all that has changed thus far is that I have been sued by Titan Cement for voicing my concerns at a County Commissioners meeting. Our effort has not made Titan Cement go away, it has not made our local or state officials stand up against this bullying company, it has not gotten us a statement from, or a meeting with, our governor. It has not even convinced you that the comprehensive review and health impact study we’ve been requesting is worth your consideration, much less your intervention.

What it has done is taken endless amounts of time away from my life and family, caused considerable financial and emotional hardship by having to fight a frivolous and vicious lawsuit for the next several years, and forced many, many other concerned and angry citizens to fight for rights that we thought our government would protect for us. And what is perhaps most disheartening to me, Titan’s lawsuit against me and a local, well-respected pediatrician has intimidated others in my community and has effectively discouraged them from voicing their grievances to their elected officials.

So I am asking that you please give us an explanation. I and everyone else in my community deserve that. I would like you to please explain why a facility that, simply because “the situation involved state land”, deserve your intervention, yet a heavy polluting company known for its violations and untrustworthy behavior; a massive plant that would be built on thousands of acres of irreplaceable wetlands, with a 500 ft. smokestack emitting toxins and pollutants within 5 miles of 8500 school children and next door to residential neighborhoods; that would mine above an aquifer that supplies our main source of drinking water, next to an already mercury-impaired Cape Fear River, in a coastal area prized for its beautiful setting and tourist- attracting location, in a county possibly facing unacceptable levels of sulfur dioxide and ground level ozone already; why does that not deserve your intervention? With all due respect Governor, I believe you owe us that explanation.


Personally, I don't care whether anyone meets with this letter writer or not. What matters is that the Governor steps up and puts a stop to the toxic Titan steamroller that is threatening New Hanover County. Do the right thing, Bev. And along the way, you'll win the loyalty and passionate support of every conservationist in North Carolina.