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2 Environmental Groups sue ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor Steel Mill over Chemical Spill in Lake Michigan

Steel News - Published on Fri, 13 Dec 2019

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The Environmental Law and Policy Center and Hoosier Environmental Council filed the lawsuit in federal court against ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act by discharging impermissible levels of cyanide and ammonia in August into the East Arm of the Little Calumet River, which flows directly into Lake Michigan, which forced nearby beaches to shutter and kept visitors away from the newly designated Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The suit calls for fines and penalties sufficiently large to change ArcelorMittal's environmental practices and modernize the company's equipment and operations to better reduce pollution damages going forward.
Environmental Law and Policy Center executive director Mr Howard Learner said “ArcelorMittal's toxic spill and permit infractions harm the environment, kill fish and endanger safe drinking water. ArcelorMittal should be held fully accountable for its pollution that harms local communities, the Lake Michigan shoreline and nearby waters, and the aquatic life and ecosystem of Northwest Indiana.”

Hoosier Environmental Council Director Indra Frank said “The community cannot continue waiting for the state and federal governments to act in the face of repeated, illegal damage to Lake Michigan. The damage has to stop for the sake of everyone who gets their drinking water from the lake; everyone who swims, fishes, or boats in the Lake; and the wildlife that make their home in the Lake.”

At Burns Harbor, a failure in a blast furnace wastewater recycling system on August 11 caused the release of cyanide and ammonia into the Little Calumet River’s east branch, which feeds into Lake Michigan. After test results were definitive, the steelmaker publicly acknowledged its responsibility days later. The spill killed 3,000 fish, closed two beaches and caused Indiana American Water to idle its Ogden Dunes treatment plant as a precaution.

ArcelorMittal has nearly 3,400 workers on a nearly 2,000 acre swath along Lake Michigan, about 20 miles southeast of Chicago.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Fri, 13 Dec 2019
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