schnitzer auto recycling
The Oakland A's baseball team hopes to evict a 55-year-old shredding plant as part of a plan to build a new stadium.
Photo courtesy of Schnitzer Steel Industries.

Baseball team wants to strike out Schnitzer Oakland shredding plant

A judge has ruled a planned baseball stadium development can lead to a regulatory ousting of a long-time Port of Oakland shredding plant.

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March 29, 2021

Gentrification backed by a Major League Baseball team and “not in my back yard” (NIMBY) sentiments are combining to put the future of an auto shredding plant in Oakland, California, in jeopardy.

A late March East Bay Times online article indicates a judge in the Alameda County Superior Court has ruled in favor of a development effort backed by the Oakland A’s to change the way regulations are applied to a shredder operated by Portland, Oregon-based Schnitzer Steel Industries.

The historical timeline portion of Schnitzer Steel’s website indicates it opened its metals recycling facility and deepwater port in Oakland in 1965, meaning metals have been shredded at the location for more than 55 years. The shredding site started operating three years before the Kansas City A’s moved to Oakland in 1968.

The Walnut Creek, California-based publication says the legal decision advises the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to regulate the shredder in ways that are likely to render it inoperable.

According to the media outlet, the court ruled the DTSC “must rescind its authorization for Schnitzer to handle chemically treated residue as nonhazardous waste, which would force Schnitzer to change its operations to meet state law.”

The East Bay Times says Schnitzer Steel issued a statement calling the ruling “inconsistent with sound science and with the statute under which the DTSC regulates this material.” The scrap recycling company also indicates it is working with the California attorney general’s office on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit and to “evaluate all options” after the ruling.

The media report quotes the president of the Oakland A’s calling the court’s ruling “a big win for West Oakland” and for the team.

Schnitzer has called the lawsuit part of the baseball team’s “efforts to dismantle the Port of Oakland to make room for their luxury condominium, office towers and stadium development at Howard Terminal.”

On its website, Schnitzer describes its Howard Terminal facility as hosting a “Mega-shredder, material handlers, loaders, fixed shear and HRB baler” plus a pier crane and bulk loading conveyor on-site. The site also offers rail access and barge and ship access at a 36-foot mean low water (MLW) depth.