Steel Mill South Hadbestos Pollution – lawsuit Filed
OSCEOLA, Ark., (AP) – Nucor Steel Company has filed a lawsuit against a rival company in an effort to stop a proposed mega mill in a northeastern Arkansas town from going into production. The Nucor lawsuit, filed in Jonesboro last week seeks to stop Big River Steel from constructing its $1.3 million steel mill south of Osceola which would employ about 500 people. The town’s citizens and business owners had opposed the plant because they thought it would hurt their small business. They worried that it would force out of the area businesses that relied on those who worked there. In addition, some of the area’s businesses and homeowners were concerned about the impact on air quality, water use and noise.
In June 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to Nucor stating that the plant would likely result in significant pollution if it was built. The EPA also stated that there is no way to predict how the bill would affect local air quality or water quality. The county judge has temporarily stopped the project while it was being contested by Nucor and the opponents. The judge said that he could not issue a final ruling on the lawsuit until he received all of the evidence that would be required for his review.
On Dec. 6, the US district court ordered Nucor to submit its final permit application by Jan. 11. A three-person task force has been assigned to make sure Nucor complies with the requirements of the clean air act. On Friday, the EPA told the task force that Nucor is in full compliance with the law. The EPA stated that the company submitted all of the paperwork it was required to in good faith.
According to the lawsuit, one of the conditions Nucor was asked to submit was a facially valid permit.
The permit stated that Nucor had cleaned up the old stables and other buildings in compliance with the clean air act. The attorneys for Nucor said that the company did submit the proper permit. The plaintiffs said that they will appeal the US district court’s decision to the full US district court.
The lawsuit revolves around two steel mills that Nucor owns in Arkansas.
The two steel mills were built in the mid-1990s and employ over 600 people. A couple of years ago, the US district judge ordered Nucor to lower its daily capacity from ten thousand pounds per day to six thousand pounds per day in order to meet another requirement of the clean air act.
According to the lawsuit, the US district judge cited numerous health and environmental concerns in his written decision.
The US district judge ordered Nucor not to build any more steel mills until the lawsuit is complete. According to the lawsuit, the plant was built to meet the current demand at the time, but now the demand has increased dramatically and the plant cannot even meet the new demands. The plant produces less steel each year than it did in the early 1990s when the steel mills first started operation.
The US district judge cited numerous incidents during his written decision.
For example, he noted that in the three years since the plant was built, it has experienced a ninety percent increase in fuel consumption. He also cited evidence that the amount of nitrogen that leaks out of the smokestacks each day has increased by almost nine tons. The plaintiffs additionally filed notice of negligence and liability insurance claims against the steel company, Nucor, and the government. They are seeking damages for their injuries and losses including but not limited to, permanent physical and/or disability, loss of earning capacity, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. They are seeking punitive damages as well.
The case is currently in the discovery stage and is expected to be ruled on in the near future. Nucor has thirty days to answer the complaint. If no resolution is reached within the thirty day period, the lawsuit will be moved to court-of-law. There is no timetable for a resolution in the lawsuit filed by the Steelworkers union and the plaintiffs. The Arkansas Corporation Commission is responsible for enforcing the regulations set forth in the Industrial Relations Act.