Will Globe Metallurgical Close Niagara Falls Plant?

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Globe Metallurgical Plant in Niagara Falls.
Globe Metallurgical Plant in Niagara Falls.

According to an informed source, Globe Metallurgical Inc., on Highland Ave. in Niagara Falls, has informed some vendors and suppliers that it may be planning to suspend operations at its Niagara Falls plant.

The source said, if this occurs, operations may be transferred to their Ohio facility.

Globe had a sizable tax handouts from the state in 2008 in order to reopen the facility.

Globe produces silicon metal, silicon-based specialty alloys and silicon fume used in automobiles, solar panels and computer electronics. The facility is a major source of emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide(CO), nitrogen oxides(NOx) and hydrogen chloride, which are hazardous air pollutants, according to the NYS DEC.

This would not be the first time Globe suspended its operations here.

In 2003, one year after Globe Metallurgical was granted 47 megawatts of ‘low-cost’ power from NYPA, it closed its plant, laying off 60 workers, went into bankruptcy, and attempted to take their low cost power to Ohio.

In 2007, the company was looking to reopen in Niagara Falls  and negotiated another 40 megawatts of hydropower for five years from NYPA and $25 million in Empire Zone benefits for ten years.

After receiving approval, company CEO Alan Kestenbaum presented a rosy picture of success promising $60 million in investment to refurbish furnaces and construction of a 100,000 square foot solar grade silicon manufacturing facility which would produce 30,000 tons of metallurgical grade silicon annually and 4,000 tons of solar-grade silicon per year.

State officials, while handing out taxpayer money, said at the time that the development provides a foundation for New York to become a leader in the solar use and production industry.

“This is a much bigger story than what it appears, and a very exciting opportunity,” Kestenbaum said.

Speaking in a patriotic theme, Kestenbaum added, “This is not only a clean production process, but it creates product that saves energy costs and will help meet the country’s alternative energy needs.”

Adding a “I Love New York” note, Kestenbaum said, “solar grade silicon and will be a cornerstone for New York state to realize the goal of making New York a major center for production and research for renewable energy and in particular solar energy products.”

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said at the time, “I think this is a tremendous breakthrough for us here in the City of Niagara Falls in terms of trying to retool our economy for the 21st century.”

In May, 2008, Kestenbaum promised, “In about seven months from now, approximately 150 people will be working there.” The average salary, he said, would be $52,000.

Eleven months later, in April, 2009, Globe went to the Niagara County IDA for tax benefits. Under penalty of perjury, the company acknowledged they had 23 employees, 125 less than what they said would be employed.

Because of high taxes in New York State, companies must seek handouts from elected officials [it helps if you donate to their campaigns too] and the taxpayers in turn are taxed higher to pay.

When the handouts expire or run out, as it has evidently for Globe, the companies must invariably ask for more handouts or leave for lower taxed states where they can afford to operate without handouts.

When will New York State realize that lowering taxes is the best economic stimulus?

It is not known if Globe will close down, or leave town, whether this is a bogus rumor or a ruse to get more taxpayer handouts. One thing is certain, your elected officials will think about taxing you to induce them to stay, or bring another company here.

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