Malarkey Roofing plans to build a manufacturing facility on 135 acres near Paul Hand Boulevard and Graham Road in Franklin. Satellite image from Beacon
Malarkey Roofing plans to build a manufacturing facility on 135 acres near Paul Hand Boulevard and Graham Road in Franklin. Satellite image from Beacon
An asphalt shingles company was approved for two tax abatements in Franklin after environmental concerns were aired Monday.

The Franklin City Council approved two tax abatements for a Herbert Malarkey Roofing Company manufacturing facility with a unanimous vote.

About the project

The company, which creates rubberized asphalt shingles by reusing tires, plastic bags and other materials, plans to build a 350,000-square-foot facility near Paul Hand Boulevard and Graham Road. The 135-acre campus would include a main production, warehouse and asphalt mixing buildings.

The council OK’d the company to receive 10-year real property and 10-year personal property tax abatements with a 2% real property and 5% personal property economic development fee. In return, Malarkey Roofing Products would add 215 jobs in Franklin with an average starting wage of $26.92, which is above the county average of $23.93.

Malarkey Roofing has also committed to the city that it will extend Essex Drive at a cost of roughly $3 million and provide the city $2 million with the needed upgrades for Paul Hand Boulevard, said Dana Monson, community development specialist for Franklin. An economic development agreement regarding this commitment is expected to be approved by the Franklin Redevelopment Commission in the coming months.

Even with the tax abatement, Monson said at the end of 10 years the city will gain approximately $12 million in property tax revenue. If it remained farm ground, she said it would be approximately $49,000.

City officials are optimistic about what Malarkey will bring to the community and say they’ve vetted the project well.

“I really am excited for Malarkey to be here,” Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett said at the RDC meeting Tuesday morning. “We have vetted this pretty well and I wish that maybe everybody could have been to our city council meeting last night because we talked about any kind of environmental (concerns), we talked about any kind of smell. I think we put all that to bed on reality. I know a lot of times if you listen to social media or whatever, you’re listening to stuff that is absolutely false … I think we’re all satisfied on what we heard.”

EPA violation

Council members and the public asked questions about the new development, including about environmental concerns that have been raised. When asked about U.S. Environmental Protection Agency violations, Malarkey Roofing’s Vice President of Finance Dave Wachsmuth told the council the company was fined at its Oregon location.

On October 20, 2021, Malarkey Roofing received a notice of civil penalty assessment and order from the Department of Environmental Quality in Oregon. The DEQ originally issued the company a $2.1 million civil penalty for air quality violations at the company’s facility in Portland.

DEQ stated that Malarkey Roofing operated the facility without an Oregon Title V Operating Permit and failed to install a thermal oxidizer, other control device or process modification to reduce formaldehyde emissions from the company’s fiberglass mat drying and curing oven for approximately 10 years.

The letter stated that Malarkey Roofing modified its facility in 2009 without notifying DEQ and the modification increased the facility’s potential to emit formaldehyde to 10 or more tons per year, triggering requirements to obtain a Title V Permit and install controls.

Wachsmuth said the Malarkey Roofing plant in Franklin will not be making the product that was associated with the fine.

“What happened at that time is there was a change in our process that changed the amount of emissions … we were permitted to do,” Wachsmuthsaid. “We discovered it ourselves years later or some years later and then fixed it ourselves or self-reported it and put in a new unit to help clean …”

Earlier this year Malarkey Roofing asked for a tax abatement in Anderson without success. Some Anderson residents fought against the plan, citing concerns that the company would be permitted to release “many tons of harmful emissions per year that negatively impact the environment and health,” risk polluting the water, increase rail traffic, close a road area and destroy “Anderson’s vision of Exit 226 as a welcoming gateway.”

‘Due diligence’

City officials say Malarkey Roofing’s civil penalty in Oregon has been highly discussed and explained in meetings with the company and was something the city was aware of. Barnett said the city has done its “due diligence.”

Officials have talked to other communities, combed through “anything and everything” they could find on the Internet, reviewed the Oregon civil penalty, and researched the Oklahoma location, Monson said. Offiicals also looked through answers on Reddit about the Oklahoma location which largely said Malarkey Roofing is a good company, a good neighbor and that there is typically only an odor offsite on very windy days.

At the city council meeting, Monson also mentioned a story on Inside INdiana Business with Greg Winkler, the executive director for economic development for Anderson. In the interview, Winkler said he noticed no emissions or odors at the Oklahoma plant when he visited.

“This is the kind of stuff that needs to be vetted out and talked about in public and get the facts out. I don’t think the facts have been out there and that’s what we’re trying to get tonight is to the facts,” Barnett said at the city council meeting.

Chris Ashby, director of environmental health and safety at Malarkey Roofing, said the company has the best available control technology for all emissions because of EPA regulations. She also said IDEM will be at the plant yearly at the least, Malarkey Roofing will self-report monthly or quarterly depending on what the permit requires and give emission reports annually, among other reports. The reports that are filed will IDEM are stored in their virtual file cabinet and will be available for the public view, she said.

Once construction starts, inspectors with the city will monitor the site. Through out its operations, the company will be monitored by IDEM and the EPA , Barnett said.

“This is not our first industrial building, industrial business,” Barnett said. “We have several and they all follow IDEM and EPA scrutiny every day and we do have companies here that deal with different aspects of environmental stuff …”

Malarkey Roofing expects to break ground later this year and start getting product out in mid-2026.
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