Environmentalism on the rise
Iverson briefly comments on the increasing role of environmentalism in administering a steel business. Environmental concerns acutely affect the scrap metal business because of the risk of a single source contaminating batches of steel during the melting process. Iverson estimates that the cost of environmental controls has increased three- or four-fold over the course of his tenure in the industry.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Kenneth Iverson, June 11, 1999. Interview I-0083. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
JM: Does the scrap supply stream at all involve issues related to environmental policy, government regulation? I don't know that matter at all in any detail.
KI: Yeah. Environmentalists become a more and more important part of a scrap business. One of the really, really serious problems of buying scrap has been radiation detectors because you take somebody who has a dental x-ray, and it's got some cesium in it. He just throws it into a scrap pile, and eventually you melt it, and you've contaminated everything with it. We've had that happen a number of times. Now we use the best and the highest priced scrap radiation detectors that we can in all of our operations.
JM: Any other issues about plant operation where environmental concerns have been a central challenge?
KI: Environmental has become a major issue. You're always going to have people who are protesting that you are going to influence the path of the birds flying over the plant or something of that nature. Of course, particles that come out of the smoke control, bag houses is now a very important and expensive part of building a plant. It used to be that maybe in a plant you'd spend five percent of your cost in environmental controls. Today it's probably closer to fifteen or twenty percent.