More bad news for Gil Rhoades, owner of ABC Metals of Milton (pictured). On Friday, Vermont Superior Court Judge Helen Toor ruled that the junkyard operator has been operating illegally without state or local permits and must immediately stop accepting waste and scrap automobiles. Toor's decision comes on the heels of a ruling late last month upholding the Town of Milton's decision to not issue Rhoades and ABC Metals a certificate of location, a necessary first step in becoming a legitimate, state-licensed waste processing facility.
Rhoades' neighbors, who last year formed the environmental group Milton CLEAN, hailed the decision as a long-overdue victory in their fight to get the unlicensed facility closed. In the last few years, neighbors have grown increasingly concerned about elevated levels of heavy metals and other chemicals in their soil and the pond adjacent to Rhoades' property. Their concerns were further heightened after the Milton fire chief remarked at a public meeting that if Rhoades' massive tire pile on his property ever caught fire, no fire department in the state could put it out.
Earlier this year, Milton CLEAN worked with the environmental group Toxics Action Center to enact legislation that more stringently regulates automobile scrap yards and puts them under the jurisdiction of the Agency of Natural Resources rather than the Vermont Agency of Transportation. Seems logical, since once the wheels are off and the engine is pulled, an auto isn't doing much in the way of transporting.
Photo: Jordan Silverman.