AK Steel to Pay $1.3 Million Civil Penalty as Part of Settlement with United States and Michigan for Air Violations at Dearborn Steel Plant
Under a settlement agreement with the United States and the state of Michigan, AK Steel Corporation will pay a civil penalty of $1.35 million for past violations of the Clean Air Act at its Dearborn, Michigan facility, implement a variety of procedures to reduce future violations and install dynamic air filtration systems at the Salina Elementary and Salina Intermediate Schools across Ferney Street from the plant, announced the Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
The settlement will resolve 42 violation notices issued by MDEQ and two notices of violation issued by EPA alleging violations resulting from a wide variety of air emission sources issued against Severstal, the previous owner of the Dearborn facility. AK Steel purchased the facility in September 2014 and has taken responsibility for past violations and improving its compliance with environmental regulations.
“This settlement will result in better management and monitoring practices at the AK Steel facility and measures that will help prevent and reduce dust and hazardous air pollution in neighboring communities,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “In agreeing to this judicially enforceable settlement, AK Steel is committed to prevent the violations of its predecessor from recurring, inform the public about its future environmental compliance and provide cleaner air for local school children.”
“People living in Dearborn and southwest Detroit have long been concerned about air pollution from this steel mill,” said Regional Administrator Susan Hedman for EPA. “The consent decree will result in improved air quality in these communities and help prevent future violations of the Clean Air Act.”
The consent decree will require AK Steel to develop an environmental management system for the facility with third-party auditing every six months, annually inspect and continuously monitor the performance of the pollution control equipment at the facility’s basic oxygen furnace and implement a fugitive dust control policy to prevent large particulate emissions into the adjacent neighborhoods. Upon full implementation of the consent decree requirements, particulate matter emissions, including metal hazardous air pollutants, from AK Steel should be reduced by approximately 100 tons per year.
“Manufacturing facilities that are located near neighborhoods and schools have a responsibility to protect the clean air that residents breathe,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade for the Eastern District of Michigan. “This settlement will directly improve air quality for our community in Dearborn and Southwest Detroit.”
“This is welcome news for residents who live near the steel mill,” said Director Dan Wyant of MDEQ. “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.”
“We have an obligation to protect our air, lands and waterways across the state of Michigan,” said Attorney General Bill Schuette for the state of Michigan. “This is a step forward for cleaner air for the residents of Dearborn.”
The settlement was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. It can be viewed at www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html