Saturday, March 5, 2011

Titan Sue You!

The titans of industry, Titan Cement, have sued two evildoers for "slandering" them.

Titan alleges that Darrell said: “From lawsuits for price fixing and court-ordered mine closures of Titan’s Florida plant, to allegations of corruption coming from Raleigh, to emails raising suspicion whether Titan was ever even considering any other location, which would make incentives completely unnecessary, the clouds of corruption grow dark as new controversies emerge almost daily.”

[...] The suit also alleges that Hill said: “The bottom line is we know from numerous studies that if we build this thing, more children will get sick, a handful of them will die. We also know from the adult studies that more adults will get sick and quite a few more of them are going to die as well Which ones? Can’t tell you. That makes it difficult, but there will be some.”
For this, and producing a Youtube video that has been viewed less than 1000 times, Titan is seeking $75k from two individuals who spoke at a New Hanover County Commissioners meeting.

Frankly, I'm just glad they didn't get stoned.

You speak poorly about a cement company in Hamurabi's time: you get stoned.  County Commissioner meeting or not.  You do it at a County Commissioner meeting back in those days, it'd probably just be worse.

No, I kid.  This lawsuit is obviously ridiculous, and I believe is intended to stop people from speaking out further. 

I can't speak to the factual accuracies of every statement made, but I have done some research on my own and have not been happy with what I've found about the potential health effects of the proposed plant.

Here is something I found.  I put it in my email when I found it, but unfortunately a Google search won't take me to the source.  Presumably, it's from Stop Titan or some editorial.

Titan America has been spending an inordinate amount of advertising money trying to convince citizens that their proposed cement plant in Castle Hayne will be environmentally equal to their plant in Roanoke. Why, then, would Titan ask state officials to be allowed to emit 263 pounds of mercury every year from their Castle Hayne plant?
This is a titanic difference from their Roanoke plant, which has a reported yearly mercury output of just 6 pounds - 44 times more titanic to be exact.
Mercury emitted from the proposed Castle Hayne plant is highly problematic, since a significant portion of it may end up in our local seafood and eventually on our dinner plates. King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, flounder, sea trout, spots and bluefish swim 10 miles from Castle Hayne. The closest free-swimming seafood to the Roanoke plant is over 220 miles away.
I really don't see how the health effects can be argued after that.

Additionally, I think one of the commenters on the StarNews story made some valuable points.  Here's some of what he said:

Mercury emissions in North Carolina are among the highest in the nation.

Recent research has implicated air-borne mercury as a contributing factor to autism. A 2008 Texas study found a significant increase in risk of autism diagnosis related to proximity to coal plants or other industrial mercury emitters (see Proximity to Point Sources of Environmental Mercury Release as a Predictor of Autism Prevalence). A 2006 San Francisco study found an association between autism and the amount of mercury in the air.

Proximity to point sources of environmental mercury release as a predictor of autism prevalence
Raymond F. Palmera,, Stephen Blanchardb, Robert Wooda

[...]Data from a California Study (Shavelle & Strauss, 1998) of 11,347 individuals diagnosed with autism shows an overall mortality ratio of 213%. The life expectancy of a 5 year-old in that cohort was reduced 6.1 years in boys, 12.3 years in girls.
Here's part of the abstract of the study I linked to:
 We found that for every 1000 pounds of industrial release, there was a corresponding 2.6% increase in autism rates (p<.05) and a 3.7% increase associated with power plant emissions(P<.05). Distances to these sources were independent predictors after adjustment for relevant covariates. For every 10 miles from industrial or power plant sources, there was an associated decreased autism Incident Risk of 2.0% and 1.4%, respectively (p<.05)
I am for economic growth, but not when it comes at the expense of the health of our citizens.  The information I have seen leads me to be highly suspicious of the health impact the Titan plant will have, and I don't support the plant in its current state.

I am for economic growth, but our capitalist system is built off of property rights, and among those property rights is the right to self-ownership, the ownership of one's own body.  If you are impairing another's right to live, you are impairing their property right.  That seems to be what would happen with the Titan plant.

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