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


Vinny Torregrossa said...

I do not believe the report that comes from the research to be very objective. I believe who ever pays the consulting firm (which in this case is Titan), will get the results they want. I found this article in my research and found it to be very interesting in that there are many different environmental impacts.

The real answer comes down to these firms to analyze the data they collect yet being overseen by Titan, it will most likely be manipulated before turning over to the EPA, state and federal offices. If there really is a stronger benefit over all the costs of damage the company will inflict, then it will be a good idea for the company to come in.

Lindsay Lamb said...

I think the study has a chance of being objective. Even though Titan has hired this firm they are going to print what is found no matter the outcome. The firm they hire will get paid to do the study whether or not the results are good for Titan so they have no need to sugar coat the results. Even if Titan has a chance to get their hands on the results first and make any changes the truth will eventually come out.

If this study proves that mercury emissions are at a dangerous level that will only second the original negative effect Titan's cement plant will have on Castle Hayne; both the effects it will have on humans and the land.

Brad Coffey said...

I did a little research on this company Intertox. What I was able to find seemed as if they were more proud of how pleased their clients are with them than their actual research. This could mean they aim to please where the funds are coming from. Not saying that's exactly how it is, but I would have more faith in a company that was more proud of doing quality research than pleasing the people that hire them.

"Intertox works with clients to explore expectations using our Client Satisfaction Model. Our goal is to exceed a client's expectations. To do this, the client service team will first work with the client to understand their needs and expectations through formal discussion. We then build a written plan for serving the client. The expectations that are key to our client's satisfaction and the specific requirements of each are documented to ensure mutual agreement. The project manager monitors and communicates how we are performing against the plan throughout the year. This process provides for continuous feedback from our clients. We periodically conduct a formal review of our performance against the plan and revise the plan annually to continuously improve our client service. "

Lauren Hazlett said...

I went to the workshop Titan had September 16th and like the independently hired firm whose task was to conduct research on the risk of mercury emissions, many of the spokespeople for Titan where also "independently hired". The studies done by these independent firms do not seem to be objective. They have been asked to find certain facts in disregards to other factors that very well contribute to the study. I talked with an independently hired economists, who was specifically hired to do an economic analysis on the Titan cement project. I asked him about the cost-benefit analysis for the Titan cement plant and where Titan stands in regards to the factors that ultimately decided whether this plant will benefit society, the enviornment, and the economy. In his cost-benefit analysis he only included the benefits of which Titan Cement specifically asked him to find. The only variables in his cost-benefit analysis was the benefit of "redirecting revenue currently spent on importing cement from other states and countries",the creation of 160 new jobs, sustianable tax revenues, and the "captial investment of $450 million in buildings, equipment, machinery and site preparation". These were the only variables this economist considered. Skewed view? Hired only to point out one side. All other variables where "unknown". When asked about all the other factors that should be included in the economic analysis, the economist said he was hired only to provide these certain facts so that is all he researched. The economist also did not have any basis for his findings, no evidence or anything to back up his claims, or how it will actually generate the monies that will benefit the economy. They gave "reasons" with no answers to why. Many of the spokespeople there for Titan Cement, tried to stay objective since they were hired by Titan, but in actuality makes them even more subjective on the issues at hand because instead of telling the truth or having any true knowledge about the overall picture, many stuck with a predisposed "knowledge" that they had about the Titan project which included their limited view that was displayed on each table.

Colin said...

Reports are always going to be subjective as long as they are written by humans, but not necessarily in a way favoring one side or another. I think it would be nice if everyone would strive for an unbiased view when considering issues like this, but many companies don't. As you said in class, if a report isn't peer reviewed, it could potentially be worthless information.

Justin Shepard said...

An environmental consultant works for the institute that hires him/her. While it may seem unethical to some environmentalist, that person is likely hired because they are willing to bend or work around the truth to get desired results for the firm. I think that if there is truth to the report it will be written in a way that most people are not able to understand the true threats that come with this new plant, or it will simply leave out some consequences of the pollution given off. I would not expect the site assessment to be near as broad in the environmental impacts as the general public will need it to be for an informed decision.