After five years of deceptive tactics to stall the process of rebuilding a former cement plant near Castle Hayne, North Carolina the Stop Titan Action Network plans to “shift gears,” according to a Wilmington StarNews report by Adam Wagner.(link)
The STAN vehicle has been running low on fuel since first it was cobbled together with recycled environmental myths and fears. Shifting gears won’t help with an empty tank.
Activists have exhausted several tactics to scare the public, coerce politicians, and litigate against regulators. They’ve used young children as props to promote unfounded health scares; they’ve slandered company officials and supporters; they’ve exaggerated and spread false information about potential negative environmental impacts; they’ve enlisted nonprofit law firms to sue state agencies responsible for permitting. What’s left? Not much.
One of STAN’s “leaders” says, “We’ve gotta set precedent, we’ve gotta stand strong”—whatever that means. Mr. Wagner interprets this: “trying to focus on what (the group) can prove about the impact cement plants have on communities.” Even this StarNews reporter seems to understand that STAN activists haven’t been able to show evidence of negative impacts—after five years of trying. Maybe a “resolution” will do the trick.
Another STAN activist, Bruce Holsten, wrote one “condemning the plant based on its potential environmental impacts.” He expects local government officials to adopt it. Lots of luck with that. I doubt that most officials would stick their political necks in that noose.
First, after all these years of malicious propaganda from STAN and failure to prove their claims of death and destruction, it would be foolish to buy into a document that implies it will happen. Mr. Holsten seems to be in denial. “We have that information and no one—not Titan or anyone else—can argue these points.” Really? Company officials (and many others) have dispelled myths that the STAN gang has claimed about potential damages from the planned plant operation.(link) And regulators have found no reasons to reject permits; so far.(Link)
There’s another important reason that local officials would be foolish to support a STAN resolution about potential negative environmental impacts from the proposed plant. A time-consuming, expensive and comprehensive environmental review by Carolinas Cement coordinating with federal and state government agencies is underway.
In my opinion, if local officials adopt a “stance that building the plant would be toxic for the region” without evidence—as STAN activists hope to convince them—it could be harmful to their political health. It seems to me that the Stop Titan hysteria has run out of gas.