WILMINGTON – Gov. Bev Perdue is weighing in on the debate over whether Titan America’s proposed cement plant should be allowed to come to New Hanover County.
She’s asking the attorney general’s office and the SBI to look into the plant that would be built in Castle Hayne, N.C. Now, there are questions over whether the Easley administration was involved with permitting issues for the cement plant.
Political watchdog Joe Sinsheimer initially asked the governor to look into the proposed cement plant. In the letter, Sinsheimer wrote, “The attorney general’s investigation should focus on actions taken by the Easley administration to exempt Titan from the State Environmental Policy Act as well as the state Senate’s abrupt decision to kill legislation on this matter this year without a vote.”
Perdue said she asked the SBI to investigate because there are concerns there were expectations during the permitting process. She said the state doesn’t want any questions regarding the behavior of any North Carolina agencies.
“The concern was raised that perhaps there were things that were made exceptions of and the permitting. I have no reason to know one way or the other, that's why we've asked the SBI to find out,” Perdue said. “We don't want any questions about any agencies behavior in North Carolina.”
While Sinsheimer also asked for 90-day freeze on the environmental permitting process, the governor did not grant that request. Instead, she is requesting that state prosecutors make that determination.
"I trust that every T was crossed and every I was dotted, but this is a way to make sure that people's concerns are realized and I believe in transparency and that's what this is about," Perdue said.
Titan officials say the new plant would bring in hundreds of much-needed jobs to the region. Despite concerns, project general manager Bob Odom promises the company will be an environmentally sensitive neighbor.
“I can say with 100 percent certainty that the state’s handling of the air permitting process for Titan America’s proposed cement plant in Castle Hayne has been comprehensive, transparent and exhaustive in its attention to detail,” Odom said in a statement. “The state of North Carolina spent 18 months processing the application with studies and input from numerous groups before issuing a draft air permit. It may well be the most carefully examined application ever issued by the state. And throughout the entire permitting process, Titan America has consistently stated that we will meet every federal and state guideline in place now and in the future.”
If built, Titan America’s plant would be the fourth largest of its kind in the country.