Company drops fumigation plan at state port - News-Times: News

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Company drops fumigation plan at state port

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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:00 pm

MOREHEAD CITY — Cogent Fibre, the company behind a proposal to export logs from the state port here – a controversial plan that would have required on-site fumigation – has abandoned the idea.

Robert Mantrop, a partner with Cogent Fibre, said Tuesday the decision was based on public opposition to use of the pesticide as expressed during an informational meeting held Aug. 28 at the Crystal Coast Civic Center.

“As a company, we’ve thought long and hard and weighed our options,” Mr. Mantrop said during a phone interview Tuesday.

About 150 attended the public forum at the civic center on the plan and the recently filed state air quality permit application to use the pesticide methyl bromide. Many who spoke at the city-sponsored meeting said the plan is dangerous and incompatible with the surrounding area.

Because it is considered an ozone-depleting substance, methyl bromide, or MeBr, was phased out by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2005, except for allowable “critical use exemptions” – cases in which there are no technically and economically feasible alternatives or substitutes available that are acceptable from the standpoint of environment and public health, according to the EPA.

The pesticide is still allowed for use – and a required application for import of logs in many countries – on a number of commodities, also including food products.

Cogent Fibre had planned to contract the fumigation work out to Royal Pest Solutions Inc. of New Castle, Del., the company that applied earlier this summer for an air quality permit for the operation at the N.C. Port of Morehead City.

Mr. Mantrop said the public’s questions and concerns, along with concerns of principals with the company, led to the decision to scrap the plan.

The project was in its “exploratory stages,” he said.

“We were just going through the process to see if it (the log-export business) was something that could be done,” Mr. Mantrop said. “The (Aug. 28) meeting was preemptive but it made us step back.”

He said Cogent Fibre also researched methyl bromide and principals with the company didn’t like the results.

“We want to be viewed as a company that has a positive impact in the community,”

 he said.

Cogent Fibre also released a statement on the decision, saying the company’s primary “mandate” is to operate its business in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

“To date Cogent has continually adhered to this mandate with its existing wood chip operation in Morehead City, N.C., since 2011 and its operation in Savannah, Ga., since 2005. The bulk log- exporting business that is of concern represented a new and unique export opportunity for the Port of Morehead City and Cogent Fibre that was worthwhile exploring,” according to the statement.

The company stated that the first step of any new agricultural trade is to determine regulations and requirements for the product between the exporting and importing countries.  

In this case of exporting Southern yellow pine logs to India and China, both countries require the use of methyl bromide as a fumigant prior to shipping and do not allow for any other method of fumigation.

Cogent had contacted the State Ports Authority to determine whether methyl bromide fumigation was allowed at the port here.

“We were instructed that the current air permit did not allow for such fumigation at the Port of Morehead City but that there is a permitting process conducted by the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Air Quality to determine if the activity would be permitted or not,” according to the statement.

Royal Pest Solutions’ permit application was received at the Division of Air Quality on July 1. The permitting process was expected to take nine to 12 months, according to Cogent.

“However, it was clear from the meeting that there is significant public concern regarding the potential project and more specifically the use of methyl bromide,” Cogent said in the statement.

“As a company it is of great importance to the partners and employees of Cogent Fibre to continue to represent a positive impact on the local community and environment. With this in mind, Cogent Fibre would like to announce that it has listened to the concerns put forward during the meeting and has concluded that those concerns are significant enough to discontinue the pursuit of this project any further.”

The company stated that it will continue with its existing wood chip operations and “continue to develop new opportunities that are in accordance with our mandate.”

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • CarolRoop posted at 1:59 pm on Tue, Sep 17, 2013.

    CarolRoop Posts: 16 you really believe that the MHC Port is sustaining the citizens to the point that if it closes folks will have to move? How many? Thirty? Forty? PAH-LEEEEESE!

  • rooster posted at 4:38 pm on Thu, Sep 12, 2013.

    rooster Posts: 27

    Oh my- Another grand plot figured out. Business and industry are all in cahoots with NC DOT, NC SPA, and those holding elected office in MHC and Carteret County to dream up diabolical plans and schemes to ruin the environment and poison us all! Those sneaks! Whew! Dodged another bullet here-and this one was close! Should have paid closer attention to the Da Vinci Code because I’m sure this was in there somewhere. Better keep your guard up and stand a vigilant watch for the next barrage they unleash- because there are thousands of them just yearning to shell out millions of dollars to get us! They are virtually lined up ready to do us in! Good Grief….. Environmental obstructionists are so humorous when they spout their sentiments with such moral conviction while professing their cause to be the protection of the natural world for the sake of the children- even though those children in turn will likely be forced to move away to support themselves and won’t even be here to experience it.

  • Sailorbuoy posted at 7:57 am on Thu, Sep 12, 2013.

    Sailorbuoy Posts: 24

    We, the citizens of Carteret County, should be appalled at the lack of concern for enviromental issues and safety of local citizens by the State of NC and the NC State Port Authority. It was obvious that no one from the MHC Port was represented at the August 28th Civic Center meeting on the use of Methyl Bromide in their quest for additional tonnage at any cost. As is their history, the Port Authority is reactive instead of proactive as they are losing tonnage in MHC and will accept anything to increase their numbers regardless of the danger to the local community. Our voices have been heard again but we need to continue to watch the MHC Port, our irresponsible neighbor.

  • Golden Rule posted at 9:19 pm on Wed, Sep 11, 2013.

    Golden Rule Posts: 6

    I would like all of the port supporters out there who are constantly bad-mouthing the local citizens who speak out about toxic, noxious port operations to read this article. We voiced our complaints, but PER THE ARTICLE Cogent Fibre principles did their own research and determined that it was questionable and not in line with their vision of an environmentally responsible operation.

    I don't for one minute think that they started their 'research' after the public forum. What this tells me is that they knew all along that this was not environmentally responsible but were going to get away with what they could get away with. If the citizens hadn't spoken up, we would have probably seen this come to fruition.

    It's time for the people out there who blindly trust the port and big business to have a come to Jesus meeting with yourselves. Don't be ignorant. You need to realize that you need to look out for yourself, your family, and your community. There is NO ONE under the employ of the NC DOT, NC SPA, or those holding elected office in MHC or Carteret County who are going to do this for you.

  • morehood city res posted at 7:25 pm on Wed, Sep 11, 2013.

    morehood city res Posts: 350

    translation: We wanted to see if you all were paying attention and we thought maybe we could slip one by you.
    although the air permit may not have been approved anyway?
    maybe mcrory's new customer service government would let it happen since government seems to be getting in the way of our choice to pollute the environment and all...i'm glad i don't have kids to dump this mess of world in their lap

  • MHC Resident posted at 4:08 pm on Wed, Sep 11, 2013.

    MHC Resident Posts: 25

    Dodged another bullet. Standing watch for the next idiotic idea to surface.


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