Statement from Gopher

Gopher Resource did not agree to interviews for this story. In response to questions sent in writing from Tampa Bay Times reporters, Gopher provided a 2½-page memo in February from Eric Robinson, the company’s chief operating officer. Earlier, in November, Robinson issued the following statement:

Gopher Resource is a proud employer of 320 hard-working men and women from the Tampa area. Our people and the communities we serve are the most important part of our work, and that is why our overriding core value is to protect people and communities. We go to significant lengths to keep our employees safe. Our Tampa plant prevents an estimated 13 million lead batteries from going into landfills each year – and our goal each day is to ensure that it’s done in a safe, clean and environmentally responsible way.

When we acquired the Gulf Coast recycling facility in Tampa in 2006, the facility employed about 80 people and it did not meet our high standards in safety, health and environmental controls. Since then we have invested more than $230 million, of which $140 million was focused on environmental, health and safety technology.

Our capital investments are complemented by our day-to-day focus on protecting people and communities. Approximately 25 percent of our operating budget is focused on environmental, health and safety and we devote 8,000 hours to employee safety training at our Tampa facility every year. As a result of our investments and focus, average employee blood-lead levels have been reduced by over 50 percent since we acquired the facility and those levels are substantially lower than the standards set by OSHA. Likewise, our environmental performance is monitored by local, state and federal regulators and is subject to multiple layers of review. Through investment and the personal commitment of the team at Gopher Resource, our performance goes beyond stringent national air standards. Since acquiring the Tampa facility, the surrounding area has achieved EPA air quality national attainment classification.

Gopher Resource has been safely recycling lead batteries for nearly 75 years with the most advanced facilities and equipment. Our commitment to employee health and safety will continue to be our top priority demonstrated through the investments and decisions we make every day.

We want to talk with you

Do you live in the neighborhoods of Grant Park, Oak Park, Florence Villa, Dixie Farms or Uceta Gardens in Hillsborough County? And do you suffer from these health issues?

  • Heart ailments
  • Kidney disease
  • Infertility
  • Hypertension
  • Muscle weakness
  • Behavioral problems
  • Reduced attention span
  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Debilitating headaches

These are among the factors associated with high levels of lead exposure. Please contact us if you are interested in talking.