Earth-moving machinery sits on land north of Clymers where Waelz Sustainable Products (WSP) plans to build two kilns to break down electric arc furnace dust into zinc and iron for resale. File photo
Earth-moving machinery sits on land north of Clymers where Waelz Sustainable Products (WSP) plans to build two kilns to break down electric arc furnace dust into zinc and iron for resale. File photo
A Cass County resident has filed a motion to stop Cass County’s economic assistance to a proposed zinc reclamation plant near Clymers.

Bryon Stephens filed the complaint for declaratory judgement on Thursday through attorney Jim Brugh concerning the Waelz Sustainable Products Incorporated (WSP) plant.

The plant would process electric arc furnace dust — a waste product created when steel mills recycle vehicles, appliances and other things made with steel — in two kilns that will separate zinc, iron and other substances in the dust using heat.

The legal complaint argues that the economic development agreement the Cass County Commissioners and Cass County Economic Development Commission signed March 2 should be voided because of the lack of public meetings and violations of the Indiana Open Door Law.

“Justice requires that the WSP Development be reconsidered in the light of day instead of accepting what the County did in the dark,” it states.

The proposed plant has been the subject of controversy with allegations of potential lead and mercury pollution.

WSP tried to build a similar plant in Muncie last year.

Company officials have said it stopped because of the arrest of two Muncie politicians by the FBI, but a citizens group has stated it was because of organized opposition.

Stephens sent the Pharos-Tribune an email stating he cannot discuss the legal filing and included as a formal statement, “My issues with this project are laid out in the complaint.”

However, he did talk later about why he filed the complaint. He felt it was necessary because the Cass County Citizens Coalition has tried to have a dialogue with county officials for two months and have tried to get county officials to take another look at the information in WSP’s permits, but officials have rebuffed them on meetings and seem reluctant to do more research beyond what WSP provides, he said.

The group also believes that with COVID-19 restrictions ending, the county will try to get votes and approvals through quickly.

WSP has already begun work on the site in the county’s Agribusiness Park near the intersection of County Roads 300 South and 375 West.

The economic development agreement states that no work is to be done until WSP gets all permits, Stephens said.

He said the complaint wasn’t filed by the coalition because it’s not an established legal entity and they didn’t think they’d have time to do the work on it.

“We feel we’re under a tight timeline,” he said.

County Commission President Ralph Anderson (District 2) said that he’d been made aware of the lawsuit about 11:30 a.m. on Friday and was aware that Brugh was the attorney and Stephens the complainant. He declined to talk about pending litigation.

“In county government, you’re getting lawsuits all the time. And I didn’t bother to read it. I just turned it over to our attorney,” he said.
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