For cleaner air

February 16, 2011 

The proposed Titan cement kiln at Castle Hayne will have dangerous repercussions. Scientists estimate that emissions will travel at least 10 miles and farther, dirtying Wilmington, Figure Eight Island, Wrightsville Beach, Topsail Island, Rocky Point and Hampstead with polluted air. It's estimated that 263 pounds of mercury, 1,456 tons of sulfur dioxide, 1.19 million tons of particulate matter (soot), 6,792 tons of benzene and tons of other harmful chemicals every year could blanket our beaches, leach into our lungs and harm our fish.

But under new Environmental Protection Agency rules finalized in 2010, those amounts would be drastically reduced. Now, however, there are threats to these protections.

Congressional Republicans have introduced a resolution that would upend these rules that limit mercury and other pollution from cement kilns. I traveled to Washington, D.C., to voice my concerns to the North Carolina legislative delegation and to ask that they support the citizens who will be harmed by cement kiln emissions.

House members are considering a GOP amendment that would defund and effectively kill the regulations. Clean air is not a Democratic or Republican issue - it is a health issue. I urge others to appeal to their elected officials to stop the effort to kill our air rules.

Allie Sheffield

Topsail Island

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