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.

10 comments:

Drew Moxon said...

Does anyone know what kind of industry, jobs and contributions Titan has promised? I've seen an awful lot of information on the costs of the plant, but not much on the benfits side. I'm wondering, specifically, how many jobs? What complimentary industries might they bring? And what kind of community contributions (as a large corporation with lots of money) would they make?

Alex said...

Another question you have to ask is once you tally up all of the benefits. Is that worth more than the value of keeping the wetlands natural? If the benefits are greater or equal to the costs, then development is a good idea but if in the long run Titan costs more than those benefits development isn't a good idea.

Alex said...

According to WWAY News Channel 3. Titan will bring 150 new jobs and a 500,000,000$ investment in Hanover County.

Mandy Isaac said...

In response to Drew's question, Titan is claiming it will bring in 161 new jobs to the area. However, Craig Galbraith, UNCW professor of technology, entrepreneurship, and corporate strategy estimates that Titan will actually only bring 46 more jobs to the area. The amount that they plan on investing into the site is $450 million, but that is not necessarily money that is directly going into New Hanover County. However, money directly going out of New Hanover County is the $4.2 million dollars that local officials have elected to give to Titan, out of taxpayer dollars, as an incentive package to come into Wilmington. (These figures were taken from Wrightsville Beach Magazine September 2008).

I reviewed the articles and the PDF files related to the article. One thing that I noticed in reviewing the article and the related articles to the left of the page is that all of them have been written by the same writer, Chris Mazzolini. After reading the first article it seemed biased against the plant coming, but his article, “Cement plays key role in life and work around Wilmington” showed the exact opposite point of view. While he may have been biased from article to article, he has proven both sides of the argument. The USFWS document raised many environmental concerns, but never stated their personal opinions and feelings about the issue. Proof that economists need to be factual and leave personal believes out was very apparent when Joel Bourne, founder of stoptitan.org, stated in the article, “Regulators collect public's questions about Titan's proposed cement plant,” also by Chris Mazzolini, that he wanted the environmental review to be “as complete and unbiased as possible.”

“Agency balks at plant's location” showed that there are many professionals that believe that Titan would have a very large adverse reaction on the environment and the people of the area. However, in order for their arguments to be strong enough to keep Titan out, they really need to start hitting people with more numbers. A cost-benefit analysis would be very beneficial for officials in charge of making this decision to have as it could prove to be a very powerful tool in the decision making process. The environmental concerns could speak volumes if it was in written numbers instead of just written words.

Drew Moxon said...

I'd be interested to see how that $500 million breaks down. If that's direct investment, that's not the whole story. Complimentary and corporate service industry companies that may come as a result have to be taken into effect, as does the multiplier effect of bringing those jobs and that kind of investment to the area (Ex: A worker at Titan earns wages, pays a bartender for beers, bartender uses extra money from new patrons to invest in another bar, more business insues...ect). Not saying that it would necessarily be more than environmental costs, I'm more or less saying that these things have to be taken into account. As do the opportunity costs of another industries incorporating in the same spot.

Drew Moxon said...

In response to the cost-benefit analysis comment above, I know the Army Core of Engineers employs natural resource economists for just such a purpose; maybe they need to get to work...

Lindsay Lamb said...

Can't Titan just find another place to build their cement plant? A place that isn't so rich in natural resources, different animal species, and plant life. Instead of Titan paying for "expensive studies" wouldn't it be easier to move slightly down the road where their plant wouldn't be interfering with the wetlands?

It sounds like from the article and the other posted comments that the costs of the plant out weigh the benefits. All of the environmental organizations agree that this area of Castle Hayne is important for not just resources but also a place for birds and fish to migrate to.

Brad Coffey said...

I'd like to see what type of surveying they have done for the area to build the plant. There has to be some sort of radius involved as far as pollution dispersion and what location would ideally work for their production. Secondly, what consideration do they take in their area selection for impact on the environment? If anyone comes across it before I do please enlighten. I think this part of their research would answer the above question as to why they are choosing where to locate the plant.

Dr. Peter Schuhmann said...

I'd assume that they do whatever minimum environmental impact assessment is necessary, but not any more. They've chosen this particular spot because of its profit potential (existing quarry, lots of available limestone, old cement plant on site, close to highway and port for transportation). As with any profit-maximizing business, they will not take external effects into account unless they are forced to.

The issue at hand is that existing regulations do not prevent this type of development. So to "stop Titan" will require new regulations to be retroactively applied to this business.

I'll start a new thread with more links on this issue.

Let's try to keep the older threads going though... especially the mercury research. We still have lots of unanswered questions.

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