Monday, September 22, 2008

Welcome CERMES students

Hi everyone,

I just want to extend a welcome to the students from the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) University of the West Indies - Cave Hill, who are joining our blog as of this week. We have 19 students from 10 countries in that class, which brings our total number of participants up to around 70.

CERMES students, if you scroll down to the start of the blog, you'll see that we've been discussing a few issues so far... the anthropocentric perspective, objective analysis and a local development issue (a proposal to build a cement plant in an environmentally sensitive area of our county). Please feel free to join the discussion by clicking on comments, and then writing and posting your comment.

I'll be incorporating some Caribbean natural resource issues into the blog and I hope the UNCW students will join in that conversation as well.


Monday, September 15, 2008

The latest from Titan

Titan America has hired a scientific consulting firm to study the risk of mercury emissions from the cement plant proposed for Castle Hayne.

Read about it here

Do you think the study will be objective?
More or less objective than "Stop"?

With information on a contentious issue coming from two opposing sides, can we believe that either of them will be truly objective?

There is a workshop of information from both groups tomorrow (Tuesday) at Cape Fear Community College's North Campus starting at 4:00. How likely do you think it will be that each side will present "facts" that oppose each other?

Should be interesting...

Read about the workshop here

Friday, September 12, 2008

Retroactive regulation?

One of the issues with Titan is that existing regulations do not prevent what they are proposing.
Article here
Lots of Titan info here
Notice that Titan is already looking to expand mining operations into Pender County

It seems obvious that if existing regulation prohibited this type of development, we wouldn't be faced with this issue.

Can a new regulation be developed an retroactively applied?
Would this be "fair"? Legal?

We have numerous examples of regulations being enacted following damage (e.g. CERCLA after Love Canal, The Oil Pollution Act after the Exxon Valdez spill). Most environmental regulation is reactive, some is proactive, but is it possible to have retroactive regulation?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service &Titan America

Here are two links articles yesterday's and today's Star News:

Short article

Longer article

Be sure to check out the external links and key documents on the left.
Notice the lack of subjective language in the USFWS argument (the pdf file) against the Castle Hayne site.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Questions about Mercury and Cement

Whitney K. has gotten us started with two good sources:

1. A presentation from the Binational Toxics Strategy Mercury Workgroup
Toronto, Ontario – May. 17, 2006

2. A July 2008 article from the San Francisco Chronicle

Thanks Whitney!

Note the connection between slide #11 in the presentation and the article content.


1. Why is mercury released in cement production (which raw materials contain mercury)?

2. How is mercury released in cement production?

3. How and in what form does the mercury then enter the atmosphere?

4. How and in what form does mercury get absorbed/consumed by humans?

5. What are the potential health effects of mercury ingestion?

6. Is there empirical evidence that these effects are more pronounced in areas adjacent to cement plants?

7. What are the potential solutions?

8. Other questions we should think about?

Some of these are at least partially answered in the sources provided by Whitney, but more info is always a good thing.

Pick a question and go for it. Please cite your sources.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

No anthropocentrism for the Swiss!

Talk about government intervention!

Could this be real? The last line makes me think its a joke. I love my dogs and my cat, but this might be a little over the top.

Assuming its true, how might this actually be bad news for Swiss animals?