North Carolina river’s mercury level may bar proposed plant

North Carolina river’s mercury level may bar proposed plant
Published: 04 February 2010

North Carolina environmental official say the river near a proposed cement plant already is polluted with mercury and can’t tolerate any more from the factory.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Wednesday that the head of the state water quality office said federal laws would prevent the issuing of a permit for a plant to put more mercury into an already contaminated river.

State environmental regulators are considering water and air permits for the plant near Wilmington planned by Titan America. The cement maker was promised $4.5 million in incentives from the state and New Hanover County if it builds the plant and creates 160 jobs.

The State Bureau of Investigation is probing whether political pressure was used to speed up state permits under former Gov. Mike Easley.