EPA sets hearing on permit for U.S. Steel
By Gitte Laasby
Published November 2, 2007
As requested, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public hearing mid-December in Northwest Indiana about its objections to U.S. Steel Gary Works' wastewater permit.
The public also will be able to submit written comments beyond the scope of EPA's objections at the hearing and during a public comment period. The EPA has not set a specific date, but will announce it at least 30 days ahead.
"EPA has decided to hold this hearing because U.S. Steel Gary Works is one of the largest steel mills in the country and there is tremendous public interest in how it affects the environment," EPA Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade said in a statement. "U.S. Steel discharges wastewater into the Grand Calumet River, part of an area of concern on the Great Lakes and a high priority for EPA."
A coalition of 12 environmental groups and 13 legislators from Indiana, Illinois and Michigan -- including U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, and Indiana Sens. Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh -- sought the hearing.
EPA spokeswoman Anne Rowan said after the hearing, the regional administrator will consider the public comments and either reaffirm, modify or withdraw the EPA's original objections to the draft permit.
Rowan said if the agency reaffirms or modifies it objections, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management would have 30 days to resubmit a revised permit to the EPA. If the revised permit still does not resolve EPA's objections, the permit will revert to EPA's Chicago office.
EPA has criticized IDEM for giving U.S. Steel five years to limit discharges of several pollutants.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.