SCHN 2017 Annual Report

SCHNITZER STEEL INDUSTRIES, INC. 21 / Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. Form 10-K 2017 We are also required to obtain environmental permits from governmental authorities for certain operations. Violation of or failure to obtain permits or comply with these laws or regulations could result in our business being fined or otherwise sanctioned by regulators or becoming subject to litigation by private parties. Future environmental compliance costs may increase because of new laws and regulations, changing interpretations and stricter enforcement of current laws and regulations by regulatory authorities, uncertainty regarding adequate pollution control levels, the future costs of pollution control technology and issues related to global climate change. Our operations use, handle and generate hazardous substances. In addition, previous operations by others at facilities that we currently or formerly owned, operated or otherwise used may have caused contamination from hazardous substances. As a result, we are exposed to possible claims, including government fines and penalties, costs for investigation and clean-up activities, claims for natural resources damages and claims by third parties for personal injury and property damage, under environmental laws and regulations, especially for the remediation of waterways and soil or groundwater contamination. These laws can impose liability for the cleanup of hazardous substances even if the owner or operator was neither aware of nor responsible for the release of the hazardous substances. We have, in the past, been found not to be in compliance with certain of these laws and regulations, and have incurred liabilities, expenditures, fines and penalties associated with such violations. In addition, we have been notified that we are or may be a potentially responsible party for actual or possible investigation and cleanup costs from historical contamination at sites currently or formerly owned or operated by us or at other sites where we may have responsibility for such costs due to past disposal or other activities. Environmental compliance costs and potential environmental liabilities could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. See also the risk factor “Potential costs related to the environmental cleanup of Portland Harbor may be material to our financial position and liquidity” in this Item 1A. Governmental agencies may refuse to grant or renew our licenses and permits, and we may be unable to renew facility leases, thus restricting our ability to operate We conduct certain of our operations subject to licenses, permits and approvals from state and local governments. Governmental agencies often resist the establishment of certain types of facilities in their communities, including auto parts facilities. In addition, from time to time, both the U.S. and foreign governments impose regulations and restrictions on trade in the markets in which we operate. In some countries, governments can require us to apply for certificates or registration before allowing shipment of recycled metal to customers in those countries. There can be no assurance that future approvals, licenses and permits will be granted or that we will be able to maintain and renew the approvals, licenses and permits we currently hold. Failure to obtain these approvals could cause us to limit or discontinue operations in these locations or prevent us from developing or acquiring new facilities, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. We lease a significant portion of our facilities, including the substantial majority of our auto parts facilities. Failure to renew these leases may impact our ability to continue operations within certain geographic areas, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Compliance with existing and new greenhouse gas emission laws and regulations may adversely impact our operating results Future legislation or increased regulation regarding climate change and GHG emissions could impose significant costs on our business and our customers and suppliers, including increased energy, capital equipment, environmental monitoring and reporting and other costs in order to comply with laws and regulations concerning and limitations imposed on climate change and GHG emissions. The potential costs of allowances, taxes, fees, offsets or credits that may be part of “cap and trade” programs or similar future legislative or regulatory measures are still uncertain and the future of these programs or measures is unknown. Any adopted future climate change and GHG laws or regulations could negatively impact our ability (and that of our customers and suppliers) to compete with companies situated in areas not subject to such limitations. Until the timing, scope and extent of any future laws or regulations becomes known, we cannot predict the effect on our financial condition, operating performance or ability to compete. Furthermore, even without such laws or regulations, increased awareness and any adverse publicity in the global marketplace about the GHGs emitted by companies in the metals recycling and steel manufacturing industries could harm our reputation and reduce customer demand for our products. See “Business - Environmental Matters” in Part I, Item 1 of this report for further detail. Risk Factors Relating to Our Employees Reliance on employees subject to collective bargaining may restrict our ability to operate Approximately 21% of our full-time employees are represented by unions under collective bargaining agreements, including substantially all of the manufacturing employees at our CSS steel manufacturing facility. As these agreements expire, we may not be able to negotiate extensions or replacements of such agreements on acceptable terms. Any failure to reach an agreement with one or more of our unions may result in strikes, lockouts or other labor actions, including work slowdowns or stoppages, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.