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November 12, 2013 > Clean Harbors replaces Evergreen in Newark

Clean Harbors replaces Evergreen in Newark

Submitted By Frank Addiego

On Wednesday, November 6, 2013, Clean Harbors staff met with members of the Newark community to discuss plans to make the Evergreen plant safer and less intrusive. Clean Harbors announced its purchase of Evergreen earlier this year and intends to put the safety of the neighborhood first. Evergreen is in a transitional phase, and Clean Harbors is in the process of renaming it Safety Kleen.

ÒIt has always been our view that we are guests in the community,Ó said Phillip G. Retallick, Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Clean Harbors, Òwe need to be good neighbors.Ó RetallickÕs message was one of empathy and unity as he urged citizens to embrace the changes the new management intends to implement.

The plantÕs main purpose is to recycle and re-refine oil for resale in the open market. Clean Harbors is a $4 billion publicly traded corporation, headed by Alan McKim who founded the company in 1980. The corporation includes services in steel, chemicals, biotechnology and transportation as well as refineries.

NewarkÕs Evergreen plant has been an ongoing source of controversy in the immediate area. Not only is pollution a major concern, but during maintenance activities, residents complained about overpowering odors. Clean Harbors representatives told citizens attending the meeting that such activities were necessary but would be kept to a minimum. In the future, the public will be notified in advance of activities which may result in odor problems.

ÒIÕm still not reassured,Ó said Steve Lowe, a resident who lives near the plant, ÒitÕs so much and so oftenÉ we also donÕt know what the safety levels are.Ó Many residents voiced complaints about the negative impact that the plant has had on the community. In 2011, a major fire took place at the plant, and while there were no casualties, the event remains on citizensÕ minds in the neighborhood.

ÒIf we did something wrong, weÕll tell you we did something wrong,Ó said Refinery Manager Mike Puersten. ÒEducation is power, so if you know what we really do, and show you how the facility works, we hope that it will go a long way to a greater understanding.Ó

To that end, the business has created a community advisory committee, which includes NewarkÕs Community Development Director Terrence Grindall, but so far only one neighborhood resident has joined. Safety Kleen will also hold tours of the plant and revive their newsletter.

While the company has changed EvergreenÕs name to Safety Kleen, standing documents such as permits prevent the company from officially doing some of their business under the new name for the time being.

ÒWe arenÕt Evergreen anymore,Ó said Scott Miller, Director of Oil Re-Refining, ÒI really donÕt want a connection with that past.Ó

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