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EPA, DOJ and state of Ohio reach agreement with U.S. Steel

Release Date: 09/21/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA181

CHICAGO (Sept. 21, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Justice and the state of Ohio have reached an agreement with United States Steel Corp. on alleged clean-air and clean-water violations by the former USS/KOBE Steel Co. at the steel plant at 2199 E. 28th St., Lorain, Ohio, that is currently owned and operated by U.S. Steel. As successor to certain liabilities of USS/KOBE, U.S. Steel will spend $294,000 on an environmental project and pay a $100,025 penalty, half of which will go to the state of Ohio.

The agreement resolves a complaint filed at the same time that USS/KOBE failed to comply with limits on particulate (dust, ash, smoke) emissions in the state's plan to implement the Clean Air Act. It also resolves allegations that USS/KOBE discharged pollutants in violation of limits in its effluent discharge permit issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

For its environmental project, U.S. Steel will remove and dispose of electrical transformers containing polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. In addition to spending $294,000 to remove the transformers, the company will spend additional money to buy and install replacement transformers.

"The replacement of transformers by U.S. Steel as part of this agreement will protect the health of the company's neighbors in Lorain," said EPA Region 5 Administrator Thomas V. Skinner.

Inhaling high concentrations of particulates can affect children, the elderly and people with heart and lung diseases the most.

Exposure to PCBs can have adverse health effects including skin irritations and rashes. In addition, PCBs are considered a probable cancer-causing agent in humans.

The consent decree was lodged today in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, Ohio, and is subject to a 30-day comment period. Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, D.C. 20044-7611; and refer to United States v. United States Steel Corp. During the comment period, the consent decree may be examined at Exit EPA disclaimer.