A Wake County judge could answer a key question about a controversial cement plant - whether the state should have done a complete environmental review of the project before talking about granting permits.
Lawyers for environmental groups, two state agencies, and the Carolinas Cement Co. took their arguments to Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens on Wednesday. He is not expected to make a decision before the end of next week.
Carolinas Cement Co., a subsidiary of Titan America, plans to build a plant in New Hanover County that would produce 2.2 million tons of cement a year and emit a variety of pollutants. The state and county have offered the company $4.5 million in incentives to build the plant, which would create 160 jobs.
The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources determined that a comprehensive review is not needed, and the state Department of Administration, answering a question from environmental groups, came to the same conclusion.
Lawyers for groups including PenderWatch & Conservancy and the N.C. Coastal Federation said the comprehensive review is required because the government has offered the company incentives.
Donald R. Teeter, a special deputy attorney general representing the state Department of Administration, said the law on state environmental reviews is meant to cover publicly funded projects.
A decision for either side would give a leg-up to the winner, but probably would not end the controversy or the court action.
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