Hundreds Of Green Country Jobs At The Mercy Of Congress Company Says

Thursday, May 24th 2012, 10:14 pm
By: Tess Maune

More than a hundred Jobs are on the line. The clock is ticking for a Green Country company that produces almost all of the nation's gas cans.

Blitz USA filed chapter 11 bankruptcy in November. Now, they're hoping Congress will help them recover.

The company says if legislators don't take action, the nation could face a severe shortage of gas cans as early as this summer. But it could also leave more than 100 employees without a job.

The familiar red gas can has been around for more than 50 years. It's made right here at Blitz USA in Miami.

The company is responsible for manufacturing 75 percent of the nation's portable gas cans. But that production is on the verge of ending.

The Blitz USA was forced to file for bankruptcy after a surge of lawsuits were filed against the company.

"A lot of our litigation is characterized by people using gas to start or pour on an open fire, and of course we don't condone that behavior," said Amanda Emerson with Blitz USA.

Amanda Emerson says the company complies with and meets all voluntary standards required for sale in the U.S.

"It's not that the product isn't currently safe, it's that we need the footing to stand on to be able to say," Emerson said. "We did what we were supposed to do."

Emerson says the way to get that footing is through congress. The company wants stronger federal safety mandates.

"Largely we need the help from Congress to not only protect Blitz, but to protect the entire gas can industry,"

Before filing for bankruptcy, Blitz USA was operating 24/7. Since the production has slowed, the factory shuts down at 3:30 p.m. and it's closed on the weekends.

This year the company is producing 40 percent of what they were. Emerson says if legislators don't take action, the factory will be forced to shut its doors.

"The outcome would be that Blitz wouldn't be in existence anymore, which is a real shame because we've been right there in Miami, Oklahoma for more than 50 years," Emerson said.

Blitz's liability insurance expires at the end of July. The company says unless congress strengthens federal mandates, they will likely not be able to renew their policy -- forcing them to shut down production.