Carolinas Cement Clarifies Recommendations on Wetlands Mitigation

Carolinas Cement of Wilmington, N.C., announced on Sept. 12 a correction to recent media reports that claimed that three state and federal organizations recommended the company identify a new site for its proposed cement plant off of Holly Shelter Road in Castle Hayne, N.C.

Company officials stated that published reports in local media resulted in gross misunderstandings and potential loss of credibility for the company.

According to scoping comment letters submitted to the U.S. Corps of Engineers by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the N.C. Division of Water Quality and the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, select areas within the company's 1,888-acre site were deemed unmitigatable. These areas, described as "forested wetlands," and "tidal freshwater wetlands," refer only to the property bordering the Northeast Cape Fear River and Island Creek – and make up only a small percentage of the proposed site. The proposed Carolinas Cement site includes plans for both a cement manufacturing plant and a limestone quarry operation. These letters were submitted to the Corps of Engineers in response to its July 1 scoping meeting and refer to a small portion of the proposed quarry operations.

"Unfortunately, these letters – which were submitted as a normal part of the Environmental Impact Statement process, not as a protest – were misinterpreted by some to mean these agencies are recommending we abandon the former Ideal Cement plant site," said Jay Willis, Corporate Engineering environmental manager for Titan America, parent company of Carolinas Cement. "That is simply not the case. The cement plant itself is not even within the areas highlighted in the comment letters. The majority of the quarry area does not include the type of wetlands that these agencies have characterized as unmitigatable."

"We are developing alternatives and conducting studies as part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process with the Corps of Engineers. We believe through this process that an acceptable alternative will be developed -- within our existing plant and quarry site -- that protects the most valuable of the wetlands of the highest concerns to the various state and federal agencies."

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