Phoenix City, Alabama (WRBL) — After years of severe environmental monitoring, the Phoenix City carbon black plant shut down.
The Continental Carbon Company had received a federal court order to cease production on December 31st unless a multi-million dollar upgrade was implemented.
The plant has been producing carbon black since 1969, a substance primarily used in car tires.
Here’s what we know…
Late Saturday night, production stopped at this facility as people were celebrating New Years. The China-based owner didn’t make nearly $100 million in improvements to reduce air pollution.
Plant Manager Greg Johnstone spoke to WRBL this morning, but wasn’t on camera.
It is said that production has been discontinued.
The plant is currently shut down.
And carbon blacks produced before the deadline are shipping now.
Johnstone referred all other questions to Dennis Hetu, the company president in Texas. WRBL has been contacted but has not received a response.
Continental Carbon lost its license to operate from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management at the end of December.
The company has operated for the past seven years under extended contracts with ADEM, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, and the US Department of Justice.
It was expected that the company would upgrade the ejection device. It never happened.
Here’s what the ADEM Air Quality Chief told WRBL when asked if the plant had shut down operations:
“At this point, ADEM has not done it with an eyeball, but again, all expectations are that it has happened,” said Ronald W. Gore.
About 120 people worked at this factory. It is an important employer in Russell County.
Many employees were inside on Thursday because the factory was closed.