Todd Donati hands out press releases from Waelz Sustainable Products during a press conference where city officials announced the company will discontinue its plan to build a recycling plant at the former BorgWarner site. Jordan Kartholl/The Star Press
Todd Donati hands out press releases from Waelz Sustainable Products during a press conference where city officials announced the company will discontinue its plan to build a recycling plant at the former BorgWarner site. Jordan Kartholl/The Star Press
MUNCIE — Officials from the city of Muncie and Waelz Sustainable Products have agreed to discontinue a proposed steel-dust recycling project that stirred up a storm of opposition.

The agreement is pending a resolution with the Muncie Redevelopment Commission to acquire the 85-acre brownfield site where Waelz intendend to build the project, the former BorgWarner site.

The announcement was made at a press conference at Muncie City Hall that was announced less than two hours beforehand on the city's Facebook page. Representatives from Waelz were not there, but were quoted in a press release that was distributed.

City officials in attendance included Todd Donati, director of the Muncie Redevelopment Commission; city attorney Meagan Quirk; John Fallon, president of the Muncie Redevelopment Commission, and Muncie City Council President Doug Marshall.

A Muncie City Council committee meeting on the Waelz project that had been scheduled for Wednesday night has been canceled, committee member Dan Ridenour said Tuesday. A Tuesday night meeting organized by opponents of the project, however, is still on for 7 p.m. at Central High School.

Waelz, which Donati said had invested more than $2 million in the project, blamed a "campaign of misinformation" for the project's defeat.

"We made every effort to engage in meaningful dialogue with community leaders, address the concerns of residents and make this project a reality," said Nigel Morrison, director of WSP. "Unfortunately, a campaign of misinformation tainted the process and ultimately made it impossible for the city council to continue supporting the project.”

The project didn't start generating controversy until mid-June — five months after it was announced — when community activists sounded the alarm on the facility's potential to emit large amounts of pollutants into the air, including mercury and lead.

That happened after the company filed a construction permit application with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management that disclosed potential air pollution.
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