MI Steel Plant Settles Violations

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 @ 04:05 PM gHale


AK Steel will pay $1.35 million to settle air pollution violations at a Dearborn, MI, plant previously owned by the American subsidiary of Russia-based Severstal.

The deal settles 42 violations brought by the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and two notices issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against Severstal North America, said officials at the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) which released the agreement among the steelmaker, the federal government and Michigan last week.

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AK Steel, based in Ohio, announced last summer its intention to purchase Severstal’s Dearborn coke-making facility and other assets for $700 million. Following the sale, completed in September of last year, AK Steel took responsibility for past violations.

“Settlement of this enforcement action is part of AK Steel’s commitment to operate in an environmentally responsible manner, which, relative to the Dearborn plant, includes the resolution of issues related to operation of the plant by the previous owner,” the company said. “AK Steel intends to be a good corporate citizen and good neighbor in Dearborn.”

The settlement, contained in a consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, also calls for the steelmaker to implement procedures to reduce potential future violations and install air filtration systems at the Salina Elementary and Salina Intermediate schools near the plant.

“People living in Dearborn and southwest Detroit have long been concerned about air pollution from this steel mill,” said EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman. “The consent decree will result in improved air quality in these communities and help prevent future violations of the Clean Air Act.”

“This is welcome news for residents who live near the steel mill,” said Michigan DEQ Director Dan Wyant. “We are pleased to finally have the past environmental violations addressed and resolved and we look forward to a strong working relationship with new plant owners AK Steel.”

The consent decree requires the steelmaker to develop a process for managing environmental concerns at the plant, which includes outside auditing twice a year, as well as annual inspections of pollution control equipment.

AK Steel also must put in place a dust control policy to prevent what DoJ said were “large particulate emissions into the adjacent neighborhoods.” The federal government said upon full implementation, particulate matter emissions, including metal hazardous air pollutants, should cut down by 100 tons per year.



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