Garson Steel Corporation, a company producing nails at the Industrial Park, Garnesville has been shut down by authorities of Liberia Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in connection with a bogus environmental permit, but the company says the agency’s action is harsh.
The closure order was effected on Friday 28 February 2020 by technicians and environmental inspectors headed by EPA Deputy Executive Director, Randall M. Dobayou.
John Jallah, EPA manager for Compliance and Enforcement said Garson Steel has been operating with a forged and invalid environmental permit contrary to Part III of the Environmental Protection and Management Law of Liberia (EPML).
He indicated that environmental inspectors discovered that the fake permit, which was displayed at the company’s premises has a wrong permit coding and numbering as displayed within the header of the Environmental Permit Sheet and has no indication of the date on which said permit was issued.
Reading a closure notice which was served on the company management, and cc to Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean, Mr. Jallah also said Garson Steel Corporation’s operation poses serious environmental and public health threat to nearby environmental receptors.
He explained that the shut-down order was executed to prohibit further unsustainable operation of Garson Steel Corporation consistent with Section 95 and Section 6 of the EPML and the EPA Act of 2000.
According to him, the decision was also taken because Garson Steel has also failed to submit an environmental audit or quarterly environmental monitoring reports contrary to Section 25 of the EPML.
The company has on various occasions provided false information to the FPA and its inspectors relating to its operating permit and compliance which is contrary to Section 105 of the EPML and Sections 22 and 38(1) of the Act creating the EPA, Mr. Jallah said.
Prior to Mr. Jallah’s statement, Deputy Executive Director Dobayou said the EPA appreciates that the company is providing jobs, but it can’t however compromise the environment and public health, which Garson Steel Corporation’s operation poses.
Garson Steel Corporation Manager Nathaniel William told reporters following the shutdown exercise that the decision to closed down the company is unfortunate and would affect Liberians in its employ.
Mr. William who couldn’t deny the claims made by the EPA said he would had preferred an amicable solution to the situation.