Durbin Meets With ArcelorMittal USA CEO About Pollution Violations At Burns Harbor Facility
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today urged ArcelorMittal USA CEO John Brett to take responsibility for its Burns Harbor facility’s leaking of toxic chemicals into the Little Calumet River and Lake Michigan, and pressed them on a reported attempt to cover it up. In a meeting with Mr. Brett, Durbin asked whether ArcelorMittal is planning to install new pollution control technologies and procedures to mitigate any further harm to the environment and if they are cooperating with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct an inspection of the Burns Harbor facility.
“ArcelorMittal has misled regulators and put the public health of local residents at risk. In order to earn back trust, Mr. Brett should immediately provide transparency to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and U.S. EPA, correct issues at the Burns Harbor plant, and take necessary financial responsibility for this environmental disaster in the Little Calumet River and our national treasure Lake Michigan,” Durbin said.
A photo of today’s meeting is available here.
In January, Durbin and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) sent a letter to ArcelorMittal urging it to take financial responsibility for the facility’s Clean Water Act violations and permit’s reporting and notification requirements, ensure that proper testing procedures and operating protocols are followed, and work closely with both Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prevent a recurrence of this damaging pollution in the future.
Durbin and Duckworth have also called on the U.S. EPA to urge IDEM to conduct a full investigation of ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor facility in northwest Indiana following reports from Chicago Tribune and CBS Chicago that the corporation is manipulating water tests and that unacceptable levels of cyanide and ammonia were found in the water discharged from the plant.
In August 2019, after a blast furnace wastewater failure, the Burns Harbor facility released cyanide and ammonia into the Little Calumet River and Lake Michigan, killing 3,000 fish, causing delays to the operations at a water treatment plant, and closing two beaches. Since then, the facility has been required to perform daily testing of these chemicals and report to IDEM. However, reporting indicates that ArcelorMittal has resampled some of these daily water tests and that unacceptable levels of cyanide and ammonia continue to be found in the water discharged from the plant.
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