Johnson Controls Air Permit for Battery Recycling Center in Florence, S.C. Becomes Effective

Coastal Conservation League and the League of Women Voters collaborate with the company in support of the permit

Aug 03, 2010, 09:00 ET from Johnson Controls, Inc.

MILWAUKEE, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Johnson Controls, Inc. (NYSE: JCI) air permit from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) for the company's proposed battery recycling facility in Florence, S.C. has become effective. This is the first air permit for a new, fully-integrated battery recycling facility issued in the United States in nearly 20 years. It follows a thorough and collaborative process involving local and national environmental groups including the Coastal Conservation League (CCL) and League of Women Voters of South Carolina (LWVSC), as well as area elected officials and members of the local community. The permit covers the control of emissions from the facility and outlines monitoring requirements to assure all state and federal standards are achieved.

"This air permit is a great example of how business, regulatory agencies, advocates and local communities can work together in a transparent manner to achieve results that benefit all of those involved," said Alex Molinaroli, president for Power Solutions at Johnson Controls.

In June 2009, Johnson Controls announced plans to build the recycling center to better serve customers' needs in the growing mid-Atlantic region. It represents a capital investment of $150 million.

DHEC issued the air permit to Johnson Controls in February 2010, following a 60-day public comment period.  The CCL and the LWVSC appealed the permit focusing their concerns on the modeling methodology and control of emissions. Johnson Controls, CCL, LWVSC, DHEC collaboratively addressed all of the outstanding issues.

"We appreciate the cooperative efforts of Johnson Controls and DHEC," Nancy Cave, North Coast office director for CCL said. "The final agreement will further mitigate emissions providing additional safeguards to the community and the environment. The outcome is the result of a successful working relationship for the good of the community."

"It is a pleasure to welcome the Johnson Controls battery recycling facility to the county," said Peggy Brown, Natural Resources director for the League of Women Voters of South Carolina and a Florence resident. "The company should be commended for agreeing to increase monitoring at the new facility that exceeds EPA requirements. South Carolina has a great opportunity for growth in recycling and it's exciting to have Johnson Controls demonstrate leadership in this area."

During the past year, Johnson Controls has hosted several public meetings, encouraging the local community to become involved in the process.  As part of the collaborative process, Florence Mayor Stephen J. Wukela organized a number of meetings with environmental organizations with whom Johnson Controls discussed the proposed facility and its state-of-the-art environmental controls.

"Johnson Controls has a long history of environmental responsibility both nationally and here in South Carolina," said Mayor Wukela.  "We are proud to have been a part of the process that has resulted in this permit, and we certainly look forward to the new jobs and capital investment that our community so urgently needs."

A Citizens Advisory Group, chaired by Francis Marion University President Dr. Fred Carter, met monthly throughout the process. This committee provided valuable input and discussion among members of the community and representatives of Johnson Controls.

"I have been very impressed by Johnson Controls' level of interest in being open and collaborative throughout this process," Dr. Carter said.  "The company is already one of South Carolina's leading corporate citizens. Its further expansion here will be of great benefit to our state."

The proposed battery recycling facility will be located off US-76 on Paper Mill Road near other major corporate leaders such as Roche Carolina and Smurfit-Stone.  

"This initial investment is part of our overall strategy to add recycling capacity in the United States," said Mike Carr, vice president and general manager of Johnson Controls Lead business. "This will enable us to continue to responsibly recycle our customers' spent batteries while reducing our reliance on outside suppliers."

Start of production is scheduled for summer of 2012.

About Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in over 150 countries. Our 130,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful.

Johnson Controls Power Solutions is the global leader in lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. Our 30 plants supply more than one third of the world's lead-acid batteries to major automakers and aftermarket retailers. Through our innovations we are building the advanced battery industry for hybrid and electric vehicles. Our joint venture, Johnson Controls-Saft, is the first company in the world to produce lithium-ion batteries for mass-production hybrid vehicles. Our commitment to sustainability is evidenced by our world-class technology, manufacturing and recycling capabilities.

About the Coastal Conservation League

The Coastal Conservation League protects the environment of South Carolina's coastal plain and enhances the quality of life of our communities by working with individuals, governments and other organizations to find balanced solutions.

About the League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters promotes an environment beneficial to life through the protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest by recognizing the interrelationships of air quality, energy, land use, waste management and water resources.

SOURCE Johnson Controls, Inc.