Stop Titan receives $1.2 million grant
November 17, 2010By JP Finlay
The Stop Titan Action Network received a $1.2 million grant from the Educational Foundation of America. The EFA is based in Westport, Conn., and contributes to arts, education, environment and sustainable population issues throughout the world.
“This allows us to hire experts and fight the permitting of Titan Cement,” said Mike Giles of the North Carolina Coastal Federation, a member of the Stop Titan coalition. “The key thing is this funding is not the silver bullet, it’s not our solution, we’re still dependent on citizen involvement.”
This is the largest single donation the Titan opposition movement has received. Previously funds came from organizations, bake sales, auctions and private donations.
Sam Pratt was the executive director of Friends of the Hudson, a citizen group that fought a cement plant on the Hudson River. “It’s an uncanny similar situation,” Pratt said, of the fight his organization waged against St. Lawrence Cement and the Stop Titan efforts.
After more than 6 years and almost $60 million spent, St. Lawrence Cement eventually gave up on their plans to build the plant. The Educational Foundation of America played a large role in the success of Friends of the Hudson, Pratt said.
“They were hugely helpful,” Pratt said of EFA. “They were the first major foundation to show some faith in us.” He said $1.2 million is a great start, but Stop Titan will need to match that money many times over to fight the company.
Pratt visited Wilmington this past weekend and offered encouragement to the Stop Titan organization. “The main message we try to deliver is you can win and you will win, but it takes a tremendous amount of participation. These companies spend a tremendous amount of money.”
“Once people really get the facts that’s usually enough to really turn the tide,” Pratt said. “(Stop Titan) is ahead of where we were two years into the fight. They seem well organized, seems like they’re making all the right moves.”
Titan Cement recently informed Gov. Bev Perdue that it will no longer pursue tax incentives initially agreed to between the state, county and Titan. Now that those incentives are off the table, Giles wants to see the county and the state take action, forcing the cement company to undergo the State Environmental Policy Act study.
“We need the county commissioner(s) to ask the governor to make Titan undergo SEPA,” Giles said. “We want industry and jobs that won’t negatively affect our children, our water and our future.”
The EFA is more than 50 years old and was founded by Richard Prentice Ettinger to assist in the quality of higher-education. The foundation bylaws were written to adapt to the most pressing needs of the times, and the organization has made an environmental commitment. In 2008, the latest year data is available; the EFA gave out more than $11 million in grants.
Stop Titan combines resources, volunteers and grassroots opposition from eight different organizations. The organizations included are the North Carolina Coastal Federation, Cape Fear Riverwatch, PenderWatch and Conservancy, Cape Fear Chapter of the North Carolina Sierra Club, The North Carolina Sierra Club, Friends of the Lower Cape Fear, Citizens Against Titan and the EFA.