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November 18, 2008

Michigan Congressman Introduces Scrap Theft Legislation

U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) has introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that is designed to make it easier for law enforcement officials to investigate copper theft cases.

House Resolution 6831, the Copper Theft Prevention Act, would require scrap dealers to document copper transactions and would prohibit cash transactions of more than $500.

Stupak and U.S. Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.), co-chairmen of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus, introduced the bill with the support of the Coalition Against Copper Theft.

"The Copper Theft Prevention Act will help protect consumers, businesses and our nation’s critical infrastructure," Stupak says. "Copper thefts are causing power outages, downing phone lines, disrupting the delivery of products and costing businesses and homeowners billions of dollars a year. My bill would give law enforcement officials the tools they need to investigate these crimes."

Ramstad says, "Copper is crucial to our basic infrastructure, delivering power and communications to homes, businesses and hospitals, and copper theft is interrupting these critical public services." He adds, "This important bill will crack down on the demand for stolen copper and on those who profit from the theft."

Since 2006, metal theft has been on the rise largely because of the surge in global demand for scrap metal. The price of copper has more than quadrupled from about 83 cents per pound in 2000 to more than $4 per pound in 2008. Tight supplies have led to an increase in copper recycling, which has created a market for used copper and has made copper an attractive target for theft.

In a statement, Stupak says 28 states have enacted copper and scrap metal theft laws. In January 2007, Michigan enacted two laws to address copper theft. H.B. 6599 requires licensure for scrap metal processors as secondhand or junk dealers and requires record keeping by such licensees. H.B. 6630 establishes sentencing guidelines for buying and selling stolen scrap metal, including metal from utility poles, telecommunications company property, government property or utility property.

"Many states, including Michigan, have taken action to address the growing problem of copper theft," Stupak says. "But a patchwork of state laws is not doing enough to prevent copper theft and help investigators solve these crimes. A baseline federal law will provide the uniformity law enforcement agencies need and eliminate any safe haven that currently exists for copper thieves."

Under Stupak’s proposed legislation, scrap dealers would face civil penalties of up to $10,000 for failing to document transactions or engaging in cash transactions of more than $500. Scrap dealers would be required to keep records of copper transactions, including the name and address of the seller, the date of the transaction, the quantity and a description of the copper being purchased, an identifying number from a driver’s license or other government-issued identification and, where possible, the make, model and tag number of the vehicle used to deliver the copper to the scrap dealer.

Scrap metal dealers would be required to maintain these records for a minimum of two years from the date of the transaction and make them available to law enforcement agencies for use in tracking down and prosecuting copper theft crimes. The bill would also require scrap metal dealers to perform transactions of more than $500 by check rather than by cash.

The resolution has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Financial Recovery Package Includes Perk for Recyclers

The $700 billion plan designed to address the financial crisis sweeping the country passed the U.S. Congress in early October. The package includes provisions of the Recycling Investment Saves Energy (RISE) legislation that will provide a 50 percent accelerated depreciation allowance for recycling equipment purchases.

"We are immensely gratified and pleased that the Congress has chosen to pass the RISE provisions as part of the legislation dealing with the current financial crisis," says Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI), Washington. "RISE will lead to improvements in recycling by providing low-cost incentives for purchases of recycling equipment that will ultimately help the United States reduce its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions while helping the U.S. economy and creating good manufacturing jobs."

"Spurring these new equipment purchases with RISE would also help grow the U.S. economy and create jobs," Wiener says. "Scrap recyclers purchase heavy manufacturing equipment, such as auto shredders, balers, cranes and shears, among other equipment, creating manufacturing jobs. The capital costs of these new innovative technologies can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to tens of millions of dollars per piece of equipment. As the scrap recycling industry continues to grow its processing infrastructure, it employs more and more working Americans throughout the country."

Mexico’s INARE to Meet Nov. 20-21

The Mexican beach resort of Ixtapa in the state of Zihuatanejo will serve as the venue for the 16th International Mexican Recycling Congress and Expo. The event will be Nov. 20-21 at the Hotel Barceló Beach in Ixtapa.

The meeting, hosted by INARE (Instituto Nacional de Recicladores), is an annual national and international event for the secondary commodities industry in Mexico. Evening and social events will provide networking opportunities to meet new industry professionals and make business connections.

According to INARE board member and congress organizer Carlos Rovelo, the 2007 conference held in Acapulco attracted more than 600 attendees.

This year’s show will include sessions on recycling markets, transportation costs and the global outlook. "The variety of participants has kept the conference focused not only on today’s issues but also on tomorrow’s," Rovelo says.

Networking opportunities, a tutorial and exhibits of products, services and technologies also are planned. Several nations will be represented at the Recycling Congress, including the U.S., Egypt, Canada, Spain, Germany, Puerto Rico and Central and South American nations.

Rovelo says importers/exporters of secondary materials, brokers, transportation service providers, collectors, processors and equipment manufacturers can all benefit from attending the event.

More information is available online at www.inare.org.mx.

Cycle Systems Acquires Coiners’

Cycle Systems, headquartered in Roanoke, Va., has acquired Coiners’ Scrap Iron & Metal, a Charlottesville, Va., scrap metal recycler founded in 1907.

Cycle Systems says the purchase will allow it to collect additional scrap metal to feed its metal shredding and shearing operations in Roanoke and Lynchburg while boosting production of processed scrap metal.

"This acquisition provides an outstanding source of quality scrap metal for Cycle Systems, ensuring additional volume for our processing facilities at a time when the value of scrap metal remains relatively high," says Jay Brenner, president of Cycle Systems. "We welcome an additional facility in Virginia to provide our customers with a convenient location to drop off scrap metal for an environmentally friendly way to turn scrap into high-quality steel."

Brenner says Cycle Systems has plans to grow in Charlottesville to meet expected demand.

Some of the metal collected in Charlottesville will be brought to Cycle Systems in Lynchburg, where a shredder that runs in part on renewable fuels processes old cars and white goods at a rate of 60 tons per hour.

Cycle Systems operates eight scrap metal recycling facilities in Virginia.

Nucor Acquires American Compressed Steel

Nucor Corp., a Charlotte, N.C.-based manufacturer of steel products, has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, The David J. Joseph Co. (DJJ), has completed the acquisition of substantially all the assets of the American Compressed Steel operations of Secondary Resources Inc.

American Compressed Steel is based in Kansas City, Mo., and operates other facilities in the state in St. Joseph and Sedalia. DJJ will operate the American Compressed Steel facilities under the Advantage Metals Recycling LLC name.

This acquisition represents another step in Nucor’s previously announced plan to use DJJ as a platform for continued growth in the scrap processing industry. Since DJJ joined the Nucor Family in March 2008, the company has added approximately 1 million tons of scrap processing capacity and 23 locations through four acquisitions.

Schnitzer to Acquire Puerto Rican Scrap Company

Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc. has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire a Puerto Rican scrap metal company called Ponce Resources.

The move to acquire Ponce Resources allows Portland-based Schnitzer an entry into Puerto Rico. Ponce collects, processes and sells ferrous and nonferrous scrap metal at four locations in Puerto Rico.

"This acquisition demonstrates our continued confidence in the positive long-term fundamentals supporting our metals recycling business and the general public’s desire for and support of environmentally sustainable business activities and is consistent with our strategic objective of acquiring companies with an established presence in their local markets, access to water-based transportation and an experienced management team," says John Carter, CEO of Schnitzer.

ISA to Break Ground on Shredder

Industrial Services of America (ISA), Louisville, Ky., has broken ground on an auto shredder at its Louisville scrap yard. The Louisville Metro City Council unanimously approved a change in the zoning, allowing the company to build the shredder.

Brian Donaghy, president and COO of ISA, says the construction on the project began earlier this summer. Donaghy says he expects the auto shredder to be operational by the first of next year.

The shredder being installed is a 3,000-horsepower 80/104 system manufactured by The Shredder Co., Canutillo, Texas. The downstream nonferrous system is being provided by S.G.M. Magnetics, Sarasota, Fla.,

ISA is also grading much of the yard as well as adding roads and scales to handle the increased volume of material that will be coming into the yard.

The company initially approved the installation of the auto shredder last June and allocated $5 million for the purchase and ancillary improvements.

The vote by the Metro Louisville City Council followed a recommendation made by the city’s planning commission in changing the zoning from EZ-1 to M-3 for three of the four adjacent parcels that make up the development site.

The commission also recommended a variance to permit part of the shredder to exceed the maximum permitted height and a waiver is requested to permit existing parking spaces to encroach into a required vehicular use buffer.


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