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Proposed metal facility causing concerns in Madison County

Posted: 7:03 PM, Oct 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-16 19:03:18-04

INGALLS — A proposed expansion at a Madison County metal trading facility has some nearby residents concerned about their health and safety.

Several people living in the area say they do not want to see the proposal go through. Signs in the town show their opposition, and an online petition set up to stop the expansion already has more than 1,500 signatures.

"My kids play right here on the trampoline," Matthew Costello said.

Costello lives next to the current Newco Metals facility and the proposed expansion. He said he is scared for what the project means for people who live near the plant.

"All the debris and the fine particles that flow through the air that my kids are going to be ingesting into their lungs," Costello said.

The proposal is called the Element 13 Project. Newco leads said the new facility will allow the company to melt, recycle and repurpose aluminum. They said the impact to the environment will be minimal, but not everyone is so sure.

"They're not really lying to us, but they are kind of misleading us, I'm afraid, and I'm afraid it's scarier than what they're letting on," Jan Barcus said.

Adam Truman, a representative with the Pendleton Ingalls Alliance for Clean Air said similar aluminum facilities have released excessive hydrogen chloride and hydrochloric acid, and he said he has the documents to back it up.

"All that scares me for the kids, the crops. I mean, this is farmland," Barcus said. "If it is dangerous, say so and tell us how they are going to guard against stuff like that. Don't act like it's not there."

Newco vice president and founder Mike Rasmussen said in a statement that the company is committed to environmental safety and security. He said Newco plans to comply with the state's environmental regulations, and the Element 13 Project will not pollute the air or endanger nearby residents.

The Ingalls Board of Zoning Appeals will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at Maple Ridge Elementary to discuss the proposal, which is far from a done deal.

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