DEM, AG File Complaint Against RI Recycled Metals for Environmental Violations
Friday, March 06, 2015
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit and Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin filed a complaint in Superior Court on Wednesday against two companies for environmental violations arising from a scrap metal recycling operation along the Providence waterfront on Allens Avenue. As GoLocalProv reported in May of 2012, a Notice of Violation was issued by DEM against the entities, demonstrating that the compliance problems date back many years.
The complaint was filed against Rhode Island Recycled Metals, LLC, and AARE, LLC, located on Allens Avenue in Providence, along with the property owner, and the onsite manager for RI Recycled Metals, Edward Sciaba, Sr. The complaint concerns violations of Rhode Island’s Oil Pollution Control Act and Water Pollution Act, and DEM's Water Quality Regulations, RI Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Regulations, and Oil Pollution Control Regulations.
"These corporations failed to obtain the permits that were required to begin operations, ignored the law, and then did not comply with the agreement they reached with DEM to resolve their environmental violations," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "By failing to invest in the equipment and other measures necessary to prevent pollution, their actions harmed the environment. As government officials work together to stimulate the economy, it's so important that we ensure compliance with our laws to provide an even playing field."
AG Kilmartin: "We Have No Choice"
Inspections by DEM in October and December 2014 and January and February 2015, and inspections by the United States Coast Guard in January 2015 revealed that the companies failed to comply with the mitigative measures, install the storm water controls required by the Agreement, remove the derelict vessels and restore the shoreline, and prevent oil spillage to the land and water.
Related Slideshow: Providence Allens Ave Scrap Metal Company Hit with RICO Lawsuit
In September 2013, three Rhode Island businesses filed a RICO Act suit against Sims Metal Management, who owns and operates two metal scrap yards on Allens Avenue in Providence. SMM filed both answers to the complaint -- as well as a counterclaim.
Below is a timeline of some of the key events in Sims and waterfront developments, as well as dates referenced in the lawsuit -- and counterclaim.
1. October 2011
Sims Metal Management purchases Providence Export--formerly Promet Marine Services Corporation, which began in 1974, "providing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, voyage-repair services to a variety of vessels trafficking in ports of the Northeastern United States, from Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Portland, Maine.
The world's largest metal recycler, Sims Metal Management is an Australian company with more than 250 locations on five continents and more than 6,200 employees. In the United States, Sims and its joint ventures are located in 21 states and employ more than 4,400 people.
2. March 2012
According to Sims Metal Management's (SMM) counterclaim filed to the lawsuit in District Court, "on or about March 16, 2012, SMM agreed to advance Rhode Island Recycled Metals $40,000.00 against the delivery of scrap metal to SMM....Rhode Island Recycled Metals has not repaid the $40,000.00 advance."
3. April 2012
Lawsuit plaintiff Anthony Serapiglia incorporates "Innercity Recycling Service LLC" in April 2012, having left his previous operation, Cove Metal, in March 2011. Operations of Innercity begin later in August 2012.
4. May 2012
Both Sims Metal Management (SMM) and RI Recycled Metals (RIRM) were cited by the RI DEM in 2012 for failing to construct storm water controls to “properly manage and treat the storm water runoff associated with their business.”
The DEM issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to RIRM on May 7, 2012 for “water pollution violations,” and the company has “submitted plans to the DEM to construct storm water controls to address the violations alleged in the NOV.
SMM also received a NOV from the DEM on that May date of 2012 and was issued a permit two months later to get into compliance. The company paid the full penalty of $25,000 for the violation and had “until June 2013 to complete all the required work in the permit.”
5. Sept/Oct. 2012
Plaintiff Serapiglia enters into a contract with Izzo and Sims for loans to Innercity as well as an exclusivity agreement -- the nature of which is currently under legal dispute.
6. March 2013
Less than two weeks after Providence longshoremen picketed on Allens Avenue to protest the hiring practices of Sims Metal (SMM) recycling yard, a group of union members were back at the site to express their “concerns” with the scrap-metal operations of Sims and neighboring company Rhode Island Recycled Metals, LLC (RIRM).
Michael F. Sabitoni, Business manager and Secretary/Treasurer of the Rhode Island Laborers District Council and Labors Local Union 271, said his members were protesting what he called the “bad perception on the industry” that the two companies were portraying due to a lack of “environmental protections” taking plan in and around the Allens Avenue area.
“Obviously, this union action is not about our environmental record, but is really about several local unions’ displeasure about jobs at this location being non-union,” said Sims spokesman Daniel Strechay at the time.
7. June 2013
According to the initial RICO lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs, "in or about June 2013, employees of Innercity reviewed the books and records...and discovered a discrepancy between the amount of scrap metal it had purchased from its customers and the amount it had sold to SMM, according to SMM's payments" -- which was estimated to be $117,000.
Innercity contacts SMM in August to review its records of deliveries.
8. Fall 2013
Innercity Recycling, K&R Auto Salvage, and Rhode Island Recycled Metals file RICO Act suit vs. Sims in September.
Sims responds to complaint, and files counterclaim in October.
A pretrial conference is scheduled for Thursday, December 5th with Chief US Disctrict Judge Mary M. Lisi.
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