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Results are in -- Citizens want Titan's permit delayed

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

 
Almost three-quarters of registered voters in New Hanover County support delaying state permits for Titan America’s proposed cement plant north of Wilmington until all the environmental and human health effects are fully explored, according to a new poll.  Seventy-three percent of the respondents support the delay, while 21 percent do not. The rest were unsure. Click here to read the full report.
 
The poll of 649 randomly selected registered voters in New Hanover County also found that a majority (52 percent) of residents are opposed to Titan’s plans to build the fourth-largest cement kiln in the country on the Northeast Cape Fear River. The company also plans to strip mine for the limestone to make the cement. The mine will destroy at least 1,000 acres of wetlands along the river.
 
Public Policy Polling of Raleigh conducted the telephone poll during the week of April 4. The Stop Titan Action Network, or STAN, paid for the poll, which has a margin of error of 3.8 percent.
 
“This is the clearest statement yet as to where the people of our community stand,” said Mike Giles, Coastal Advocate for the N.C. Coastal Federation and a STAN member. “Most are opposed to Titan building in our community and the great majority wants to know what this plant will do to our rivers, our air and our children before permits are issued, which will then be too late.”
 
STAN has asked Gov. Beverly Perdue to use her discretionary authority to delay state permits until a review is completed of the project’s environmental and human health effects. Such a review is required before Titan can get its federal permits.
 
Delaying state permits until that review is completed had widespread support, even among those who support the project. The poll found that a majority of residents – 52 percent – oppose Titan building the plant in New Hanover County. Thirty-six percent support the proposal, and the rest were unsure. But more than a third of the supporters – 37 percent – favored a delay in state permits until the review is completed.          
 
Opposition to Titan’s plans in New Hanover County also had no party boundary.  The percentages of those opposing the project do not change substantially with political affiliation with 52 percent of Democrats, 46 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of unaffiliated voters opposing the project.
 
As expected, the factors cited as why people support or oppose the Titan project differ greatly. According to the poll, most who support the project did so because they thought it would create jobs (74 percent) or increased tax revenue (8 percent). Opponents based their opposition on the project’s possible environmental (60 percent) or human health (36 percent) effects.
 
Respondents were also critical of the way the Titan issue was handled by their local government officials. Sixty-eight percent rated local officials as either “fair” or “poor” in representing the “interests” of residents in the Titan debate. Only 20 percent gave local officials “excellent” or “good” marks.
 
“The New Hanover County Commission and our local state delegation are concerned about the state issuing a permit prior to a comprehensive review” said Kemp Burdette, the Cape Fear River Keeper and a STAN member. “They are also concerned about the impending designation of the region by the EPA for non-attainment for sulfur dioxide and ground level ozone which is another reason for delaying any state permits”.
 
For more information about this poll or the issue, contact Mike Giles at 910-231-6687 or at mikeg@nccoast.org.

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