PCS Phosphate says it is re-evaluating its entire sulfur project at the Morehead City State Port, including whether to store sulfur pellets.
Wednesday, Governor Beverly Perdue announced PCS had abandoned its plans to build a controversial sulfur melting plant at the port. But an Associated Press story said PCS was still going ahead with plans for sulfur pellet storage facilities at the port with bins 150 feet high. That angered many opponents who felt the governor wasn't giving them the full story.
Thursday in Havelock Perdue told reporters she was surprised to hear there has been discussions of the pellets. She says as far as she knows there is no proposal for pellets at this point in time.
In an email to WITN News, PCS says they are now re-evaluating all of their options, including the location of the storage pellet facility. Public relations manager Michelle Vaught says they anticipate any storage facility that is eventually built would be far less than 150 feet high.
As for the Associated Press story yesterday, the AP tells WITN that the details in that report were provided by a member of the governor's communications staff. WITN obtained that email which included several talking points about the pellets: "PCS also has a plan to bring dry sulfur pellets and store them at the port." and "If that plan ultimately goes forward, PCS has already agreed to rework their plans to make sure that no sulfur storage building will exceed 150 feet in height."
Meanwhile, the Clean County Coalition has apologized to the governor. "I sincerely apologize to the Governor for calling her a liar," said coalition president John Nelson. Nelson said he received a phone call today from Perdue's senior adviser who reassured him there were no plans to build a sulfur pellet storage facility at the port.
There was a sense of relief by many Wednesday after the announcement by Governor Beverly Perdue that PCS Phosphate would not be building a sulfur plant along the coast, but that excitement is quickly fading
Perdue said at a press conference in Morehead City Wednesday- after speaking with PCS Phosphate, it voluntarily decided not to continue with the plans of building a sulfur melting plant in Morehead City.
The decision comes after much opposition to the plant.
Governor Perdue stated to the residents of Carteret County that she reviewed their concerns over the past week and was happy to bring good news to the community. After the press conference the community learned disappointing news there is still a chance PCS Phosphate will be their neighbor by building a sulfur pellet storage facility.
Vice President of the Clean County Coalition Leigh Johnson told WITN the group feels betrayed the governor would talk about transparency at Wednesday's press conference, but yet was not transparent with the community about how PCS had other plans.
Perdue says residents will have opportunities to comment on the proposed warehouse during the permitting process. However, the coalition told WITN Wednesday they are now retaining an attorney to fight the proposed PCS warehouse.
Morehead City residents complained the state and PCS Phosphate kept the sulfur melting plant proposal under wraps, unfairly blocking citizens from offering feedback. The governor said that was not the case.
Governor Beverly Perdue made the announcement this afternoon at the North Carolina State Port at Morehead City, the site of the proposed plant.
Joining the governor were the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources and the CEO of the State Ports Authority.
The announcement was met with a round of applause from dozens of people who attended the announcement.
Although PCS Phosphate is abandoning plans for the smelting plant, the company hopes to build a storage facility for dry sulfur pellets at the site. Perdue said the proposed warehouse would be limited to 150 feet in height -- the same size as smokestacks included the original proposal.
Perdue says residents will have opportunities to comment on the proposed warehouse during the permitting process.
At first it was hard to tell which direction the governor would go with the announcement. Perdue got boos when she said the public was properly notified about the plant. She said there was a paper trail, and told the crowd "you need to pay attention."
PCS Phosphate wanted to build the sulfur plant at the port, but a group of Carteret County residents strongly oppose the plan.
Perdue said there is a balance of tourism and good business.
The governor said she asked the groups involved to take a "time out" in the conversation with PCS Phosphate.
Perdue said her investigation into the plant and its impact was completed. She then said PCS Phosphate has voluntarily agreed to abandon its pursuit of the sulfur plant at the port. The crowd erupted in cheers.
PCS spokeswoman Michelle Vaught said the plant design met all state regulations and said company officials had been meeting for more than a year with state and local leaders who have discussed economic incentives for the project.
The $95 million plant would melt solid sulfur after it reaches the port. PCS Phosphate says this plant would add 18 jobs to the port where PCS already employees 13 people, and they are required by state law to release no objectionable odors beyond the facility boundary. Homeowners say the smell is a big worry for them.
Hundreds of people showed up at a meeting Tuesday night trying to gather last minute ideas to keep a sulfur melting plant out of their city along the coast.
More than 400 people attended the Clean County Coalition meeting at the Crystal Coast Civic Center. Representatives from PCS Phosphate, the company that wants to build the plant, were not among them.
The coalition is trying to stop PCS from building a sulfur melting plant at a port on Radio City Island. PCS spokeswoman Michelle Vaught said the plant design meets all state regulations and said company officials have been meeting for more than a year with state and local leaders who have discussed economic incentives for the project.The $95 million plant will melt solid sulfur after it reaches the port. PCS Phospate says this plant will add 18 jobs to the port where PCS already employees 13 people, and they are required by state law to release no objectionable odors beyond the facility boundary. Homeowners say the smell is a big worry for them.
"We have seen from the Pender county storms- the fires and everything there and those down east the way the smoke has drifted in on us. Boy, wouldn't rotten eggs be even worse?" commented concerned resident Llewellyan Ramsey.
The mayor of Morehead City has said because the site is on a state port, PCS was not obligated to contact the city for any building permits.