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‘Problems’ plague scrap battery exports: RSR

Keywords: Tags  junk battery exports, lead battery exports, scrap lead acid batteries, RSR, Bob Finn, CEC, Commission for Environmental Cooperation, North America Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — RSR Corp. has praised a draft report on junk battery exports, saying that the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) report "confirms there are serious problems with the export of scrap lead-acid batteries from the United States to Mexican secondary lead smelters."

The CEC draft report says that "notwithstanding Mexico’s permitting process, there are important gaps in its overall regulatory framework, as well as with respect to the prevailing environmental and public health standards in the United States and Canada."

The Montreal-based organization recommends that the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States "work together with the North American secondary lead smelting industry to develop strategies to support the adoption of best practices throughout the region."

The report also contains recommendations to improve the tracking of junk battery exports in order to "help the governments provide timelier and more coherent information on what crosses their national borders."

The United States specifically "should require the use of manifests for each international shipment of (junk batteries), and it should require exporters to obtain a certificate of recovery from the recycling facility," the report said. U.S. junk battery exports to Mexico increased by as much as 525 percent between 2004 and 2011.

"Domestic recyclers are working to comply with increasingly stringent (environmental and labor) standards," Bob Finn, chief executive officer of Dallas-based RSR, said in a statement. "In a slowed economy and in an industry where margins are extremely thin, this capital investment places many domestic recyclers at a competitive disadvantage with foreign facilities that have less-stringent, and in many instances no, requirement(s) to improve levels of environmental and workplace safety. ... Unless we establish a level playing field between the United States and Mexico we will continue to see domestic facilities close, jobs lost and foreign communities harmed."

Comments on the draft CEC report will be accepted until Dec. 21, with the final report expected to be submitted to the CEC Council in early 2013, according to the organization.

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