Garson Steel Corporation, a company producing nails at the Industrial Park in Gardnersville, has been shut down by authorities of Liberia Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its alleged connection with a bogus environmental permit, but the company says the agency’s action is harsh.
According to a release from the EPA, the closure order came into force on Friday, February 28, 2020 by technicians and environmental inspectors headed by EPA Deputy Executive Director, Randall M. Dobayou.
John Jallah, EPA manager for Compliance and Enforcement, says 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 the closure notice that was served the company’s management with a carbon copy 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; however, EPA cannot compromise the environment and public health for the noncompliant nature of Garson Steel Corporation’s operation.
Garson Steel Corporation Manager, Nathaniel William, told reporters following the shutdown exercise that the decision to close down the company is unfortunate and would affect Liberians in its employ.
Mr. William, who could not deny the claims made by the EPA, said he would have preferred an amicable solution to the situation.