Meetings Recap of LaFarga Copper LLC (Steel Dynamics Inc.)


On January 12, 2012, the Allen County Drainage board had their beginning talks about reconstructing the Bandelier Ditch #3.  Abby Frost-King and Celia Garza specifically requested from different contacts within the Surveyors office, to be informed of the day they would begin conversations. We were not called about this first meeting. They explained that this was only the introduction of the project and that there would be additional meetings. The Drainage Board meets the second and fourth Thursday of every month at 9:30am in the Council courtroom Suite 035 in the Garden level of Citizens Square. The next meeting will be January 26, 2012 at 9:30am. If they continue to speak and plan for this ditch improvement, it is imperative that we all attend to share our opinions…even though we have been informed that there will be a “public hearing” after the plans are in place and THEN the public who live in the area will be able to comment on their findings.
Save Maumee had attended the last Allen County Drainage Board meeting of 2011.  We requested the review of the restructuring of Bandilier Ditch #3, since it seemed necessary to do this work before LaFarga Copper LLC (Steel Dynamics owned) is built on this partial floodplain.  In addition, they would be required to install a retention pond on the property, to aid draining and storage of water. Originally, the “restructuring” of the ditch was, to our understanding, necessary for the new copper facility to be built. In previous meetings we understood that LaFarga was to pay for the restructuring of the Bandilier Ditch #3 and no plans had yet been designed.

Questions:
1) Who is paying to restructure Bandilier Ditch #3?
2) If it is Allen County citizens, why is the drainage board planning to restructure this ditch at this time…rather than 2 years ago, or next year?
The residents of New Haven have been in a state of unrest since Steel Dynamics Inc. announced their intention of moving a copper processing plant into the community. On April 27, 2011 officials of Omni -Source and Superior Aluminum held a meeting in which they spoke with residents about this investment. After listening to complaints from neighboring citizens, they realized the primary concern is a combination of pollutants coming from a new plant, as well as an existing plant (all owned by Steel Dynamics) called Superior Aluminum. A plant that neighbors have experienced previous problems with pungent odors and colorful metallic scented emissions. The EPA regulated ambient air monitors that determine pollutant levels to be compliant with the NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards) in Allen County are located 7.4-10 miles upwind of where the two plants will be located. This fact left little comfort to those that live within the area and whose health and property would be negatively impacted by additional emissions. Residents shared this knowledge with President Mark Milet and former CEO Keith Busse on October 18, 2011. They compromised by telling everyone at the meeting, they were going to install a spot light on the smoke stack for nighttime view and process monitors (which were described as being only video cameras). They also extended an invitation to the community to tour the new plant when it’s completed. At this time, a date has not been released for a tour of the new facility, and the company has not yet installed a spot light or video camera to their smoke stacks on Superior Aluminum.

An appeal has been filed on the air permit for the SDI LaFarga LLC copper processing plant. The hearings with the Office of Environmental Adjudication (OEA) began on December 19, 2011. Evidence will be presented and expert witnesses will appear at future hearings to ensure that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) properly reviewed and approved the air permit for the SDI LaFarga copper plant. Investigation will continue until the OEA comes to a verdict. For more information, or if you live in the area and want to become involved, please e-mail get.involved@live.com.

 

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