The Continental Carbon company – a leader in the development and manufacture of furnace-grade carbon blacks for the tire and rubber industry – will shut down its Phenix City Carbon Black plant on December 31st following years of failing to make necessary improvements to the facility and being hit by a multimillion dollar judgement verdict.

The company was under a federal consent decree to make mandatory improvements to the facility and it is currently operating under a permit from ADEM.

The company makes carbon black, a substance used to reinforce the rubber in car tires. It is also used in plastic, ink and coating applications.

On December 8, Continental Carbon was informed in a letter by the Alabama Department of the Environment that it must cease operations by December 31. The letter claims that Continental Carbon has experienced a month-long standstill despite numerous state and federal attempts to get an approval extension.

“The Department understands that Continental Carbon company intends to do so based on information obtained during a recent inspection by ADEM Air Division personnel at the facility,” the letter said. “Because CCC does not have legal authority to operate the Phenix City facility after December 31, 2022, and because CCC has expressed plans to cease operations, Major Source Operating Permit No. 211-0003 expires January 1, 2023.”

Phenix City director of economic development Shaun Culligan commented: “We were made aware over the summer that the plant would be closing on December 31,” Culligan said. “We have received no communication from Continental Carbon to object to this.”

The closure of the plant will put a hole in the Phoenix City economy. The 120 jobs will generate about $6.5 million in economic impact. Continental Carbon Operations Manager Greg Johnstone said in a letter to an East Alabama newspaper in August, urging residents to write letters of support for the plant to complete the third Obtaining EPA Renewal and Staying Open.

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