Kansas And Texas Moms Share Their Stories Of Living In Cement Towns

BY ON April 18, 2012

Power plant smokestack at night

This piece was written by Sarah Gilliam, Coordinator for the Stop Titan Action Network:

At the end of this month, residents of the Cape Fear region will catch a rare glimpse into what their future could hold if one of the world’s largest cement manufacturing and strip-mining facilities is built in our coastal community. Alexandra Allred from Midlothian, TX and Selene Hummer from Chanute, KS are traveling to Wilmington to share with residents what it has been like to live in the shadows of cement plants.

Residents of Castle Hayne and neighboring Pender County are encouraged to attend the First Annual Picnic in the Park, on Sunday, April 29 from 1-5 P.M. at the Castle Hayne Riverside Park, located at 6710 Old Bridgesite Road.  There will be free food, music by Big Al and engaging speakers that live in cement towns. To RSVP for this event, click here.

For years, both Allred and Hummer have fought to protect their families from the negative health, environmental and economic effects associated with cement kiln emissions. The stories they have told me during our phone conversations are horrific and I can only hope my neighbors and friends will take this opportunity to learn from these fellow-cement kiln activist. After all, we are still Titan-free and this event is meant to be a wake-up call for our community, which has the most to lose if Titan is allowed to set up shop.

“They are stealing our future,” said Hummer during a recent phone conversation I had with her and her entire family, who are fighting the Ashe Grove cement company. “You cannot tell where our government stops and Ashe Grove begins.”

It is important for our community to learn what our future could look like if Titan Cement is allowed to build 2500+ acre mine, over 70-feet deep, that could harm critical surface and ground water within the fragile Northeast Cape Fear River ecosystem. Over 8500 school children, who are more susceptible to the pollutants Titan will emit, will be within 5 miles of this facility. We have an opportunity to stop Titan before our air and water quality are compromised by Titan’s 12 million pounds of annual emissions.

“I am so grateful for this opportunity to come speak to the citizens of Wilmington. I wish I had been given the chance to weigh the pros and cons of having a cement plant in my backyard… I don’t know what your decision will be but at least I know you will have been given the chance to see the future,” said Allred.

Join Allred, Hummer and others for the First Annual Picnic in the Park, on April 29th from 1-5pm at the Castle Hayne Riverside Park, located at 6710 Old Bridgesite Road.  This will be a family-friendly afternoon in the park with free food, music by Big Al’s Band and engaging speakers that live in cement towns. To RSVP for this event, click here.

This event is co-sponsored by the following Stop Titan Action Network partners: Cape Fear River Watch and PenderWatch & Conservancy. For more information, contact Stephanie Borrett at stephanie@cfrw.us or Allie Sheffield at allieshef@gmail.com.


Caption for photo: Ashe Grove is a cement manufacturing facility in Chanute, KS. This photo was taken at night, when the emissions and dust take on a red coloration.  Ashe Grove has burned hazardous waste since 1983. Hear from residents who live near this facility, on April 29th at the Picnic in the Park event in Castle Hayne, NC.

Photo: Selene Hummer

TOPICS: Cement, North Carolina, Pollution, Texas