AIM says Saint John facility may close if deal with province can’t be reached
The owner of American Iron and Metal [AIM] says he wants to keep the lights on at his Saint John scrap metal facility, but says the province is forcing his hand.
“Obviously if environment doesn’t come back to [me] and tell [me] what the problem is and give [me] and opportunity, if there is a problem, to correct it … [I’ll] unfortunately have to close up,” said owner Herb Black.
“I feel terrible that they are forcing me by not giving me any answers.”
Last week AIM received a stop work order from the Department of Environment and local government. The facility is still open but is unable to run its metal shredder, which has caused over 40 explosions in the last 16 months.
Black says if the shredder isn’t up and running again by Monday morning he wouldn’t be able to fill a scrap order for December and would likely have to shut down.
On Friday minister Jeff Carr said the department was close to sending an amended order of compliance to the company that will include increased environmental testing.
“Our goal is to get the industry going down there and get scrap moving in a safe and environmentally sustainable way,” he told reporters.
“I believe that we will see some of those things in the amended order. I haven’t read the complete amended order myself, so we’ll see that, but we want to have ongoing measures in place to make sure AIM is following what they’re supposed to follow.”
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Raven Blue of Livable Saint John is calling for 24/7 monitoring of the site if it is reopened.
“The stop work order doesn’t really address the primary issues that we’re concerned with. We really want to see comprehensive testing done on the air, and the noise, and the vibration,” he said.
“One of the biggest questions for people who live in the neighbourhood here is is the air safe to breath.”
Black said he is willing to undergo additional environmental testing, but believes the facility is already meeting requirements and wants to get the shredder going at the facility as soon as possible.
“Everything, oh yeah,” he said when asked about the possibility of submitting to more testing.
“I put equipment in to environmentally test everything and I have all the f—– results. I got ’em sitting here.”
Blue says that for most residents the shredder explosions weren’t the problem and many are hoping more data will lead to the plant being moved when it comes up for review next year.
“If the stop work order was released we’d be supportive of that if there was a commitment from the province to do the sort of testing that residents have been asking for for such a long time,” he said.
“All of the decisions we make, they need to be evidence based. So we really need to get a better understanding of what’s in the air.”
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