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Companies To Halt Fumigation Operations

RALEIGH – The state Division of Air Quality was notified Thursday that fumigation operations will come to an end at the Wilmington site of Tima Capital Inc., a hardwood distributor.

According to a release Thursday from the state Department of Environmental Quality, letters from Royal Pest Solutions, currently operating at 800 and 810 Sunnyvale Drive, Wilmington, and Tima Capital, the company that applied for a permit to change the facility to its name and increase the use of the fumigant methyl bromide, are seeking state approval to withdraw the draft air permit and cease fumigation operations at the Wilmington location by April 10, after the current inventory of logs is fumigated.

Division officials began Thursday to make arrangements to withdraw Tima’s draft air quality permit and rescind Royal Pest’s current air quality permit for the facility.

“At the request of our landowner, Tima Capital Inc. will not be fumigating on this property after Royal Pest Solutions Synthetic Minor Permit cessation of operations and rescission of their permit effective April 10,” said Tima Capital President Timurlan Aitaly in a letter to William Willets, the Division of Air Quality’s permitting chief, and Brad Newland, the division’s regional supervisor. “Therefore, no further permits will be needed by Tima Capital Inc. for the sites of 800 and 810 Sunnyvale Drive.”

The hardwood distributor had asked for a permit to dramatically increase its use of the chemical insecticide methyl bromide, also called bromomethane. The facility’s current permit expires at the end of May. The company applied to take over the permit originally issued to Royal Pest Solutions, the company that performs the methyl bromide spraying at the Tima log-preparation facility.

Tima Capital’s request for a modified permit required a public comment period, which ran from Feb. 23 to March 25. While the new comment period had not been announced, DAQ officials have continued to receive comments about Tima’s proposed permit and most of 1,100 comments received since Feb. 23 were opposed to issuing the permit.

Last week, the division issued a news release announcing its plans to hold a new public comment period and public hearing to enable additional input for the Tima Capital’s draft air quality permit. The new public comment period came in response to heightened public interest in the permits.

A second fumigation company, Malec Brothers Transport, LLC, is requesting a new air quality permit to start a fumigation facility in Columbus County. Malec is also proposing the use of methyl bromide. As stated in last week’s news release, the state plans soon to announce a new public comment period and new public hearing for the Malec Brothers draft air quality permit.

Morehead City residents in 2013 overwhelmingly opposed a proposal for a similar operation, presented by Cogent Fibre with insecticide fumigation of bulk logs for export that would have been provided by Royal Pest Solutions.  The company ultimately scrapped its plans to seek a state air quality permit.

Methyl bromide was phased out by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2005 because it’s an ozone-depleting substance. Its use is allowed only in cases where 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.

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.