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Scrap exporter defies city order to shut

Keywords: Tags  scrap metal, Stonerock Shipping, Stemcor USA, Stuart Kroll, Port of Palm Beach, Manuel Almira, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — A scrap metal export facility operating at the Port of Palm Beach in Florida said it will not heed the city’s order to cease operations there.

Manuel Almira, the port’s executive director, was told in a June 16 letter from the city of Riviera Beach, Fla., that Stonerock Shipping Corp. must stop scrap processing within 14 days because the practice is prohibited within the general industrial zoned district.

However, company president Stuart Kroll said it has done nothing wrong and plans to continue operating.

The city claims that Kroll listed shipping and stevedoring but not scrap processing when he filled out the initial application with the city in December 2011, according to the 11-page letter sent to Almira.

Stonerock handles scrap provided by New York-based Stemcor USA Inc. "The material we handle is not processed by any methods in (the city’s) definitions," Kroll told AMM. "We plan to stand put. We are not polluting, have passed environmental inspections and have been good stewards of the environment since day one."

The company has invested more than $1.5 million to install concrete pads and drainage and has a standalone radiation detector that scans each load delivered to the port, he said.

Riviera Beach-based Stonerock signed an agreement with the port in 2012 to handle up to 500,000 tonnes of scrap metal earmarked for export each year. "We have already paid the port $1.7 million in rent and taxes. There may be 40 tenants, and we are the second-highest generator of funds to the port," Kroll said.

The city claims that the storage of scrap metal poses a safety hazard to anyone on the property. The weight of the stacked shipping containers has caused the containers to shift and lean, metals are being accidentally dropped into the water by cranes, and contaminants in the metal are leaching into the waterway, according to the letter.

Kroll said the business operates responsibly and questions the motives of those opposing the operation, claiming that some oceanfront residents are trying to close the port because they don’t care for the view.

A spokeswoman for the port said it is backing Stonerock in the matter. "They have an absolute right to operate. We would have never signed a 40-year lease otherwise," she said.

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