U.S. Steel Settles Environment Suit

Monday, November 28, 2016 @ 06:11 PM gHale

U.S. Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel) agreed to resolve Clean Air Act litigation by undertaking measures to reduce pollution at its three Midwest iron and steel manufacturing plants in Gary, Indiana; Ecorse, Michigan; and Granite City, Illinois.  

As part of the Tuesday agreement, U.S. Steel will perform seven supplemental environmental projects totaling $1.9 million, to protect human health and the environment in the communities affected by U.S. Steel’s pollution, including a project to remove lighting fixtures containing toxic chemicals in public schools. 

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In addition, U.S. Steel will expend $800,000 for an environmentally beneficial project to remove contaminated transformers at its Gary and Ecorse facilities and pay a $2.2 million civil penalty. 

The agreement is in a consent decree lodged in federal district court in the Northern District of Indiana. The case ended up initiated by the United States and Indiana and Illinois and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in August 2012.

“Defendant U.S. Steel, a major global iron and steel manufacturer, has agreed to curtail significant pollution from its three Midwest plants,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“Today’s settlement protects communities in the Midwest from air pollution and puts important environmental projects to work,” said Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Making sure companies comply with the law that protects clean air is an important way EPA safeguards the health of communities across the country.”

Under the consent decree, U.S. Steel will immediately repair, and later replace, a bell top on a blast furnace used for making molten iron at its Great Lakes Works facility in Ecorse. The bell top, through which raw materials are placed inside the furnace, has a worn seal that is causing increased emissions of hazardous pollutants and particulate matter. The new bell top should eliminate those increased emissions. U.S. Steel will also implement improvements (following a third-party study) at its Great Lakes Works’ steel-making shop to reduce emissions causing opacity. At its Gary Works facility, U.S. Steel will repair a large opening in a metal shell that surrounds a blast furnace. The repair will eliminate excess emissions from that furnace. 

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