December 11, 2019
BURNS HARBOR, Indiana — The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) and Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) filed a Clean Water Act enforcement lawsuit against ArcelorMittal for more than 100 permit violations at its Burns Harbor, Indiana, steel mill. ArcelorMittal’s steel mill is located along the Lake Michigan shoreline and adjacent to the Indiana Dunes National Park. This steel mill discharges pollution into the East Arm of the Little Calumet River, which flows directly into Lake Michigan. ELPC’s and HEC’s lawsuit is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
ArcelorMittal’s violations include exceeding its permit limits for cyanide and ammonia in amounts that rendered the waters unsafe for human or aquatic life. In August 2019, ArcelorMittal’s excessive pollution killed 3,000 fish and closed beaches on Lake Michigan and Indiana Dunes National Park. ArcelorMittal did not report this toxic spill until after the public starting discovering thousands of dead fish. ArcelorMittal’s toxic spill caused the closure of a drinking water intake that serves thousands of Northwest Indiana residents.
“ELPC public interest attorneys are filing this Clean Water Act enforcement lawsuit against ArcelorMittal because its toxic spill and permit violations harm the environment, kill fish and threaten safe drinking water,” said Howard Learner, ELPC’s Executive Director.
Mr. Learner explained: “ELPC’s lawsuit calls for fines and penalties sufficiently large to change ArcelorMittal’s environmental practices and modernize the company’s equipment and operations to better reduce pollution damages going forward. ArcelorMittal should be held fully accountable for its pollution that harms local communities, the Lake Michigan shoreline and nearby waters, and the aquatic life and ecosystem of Northwest Indiana.”
“In the face of this repeated, illegal damage to Lake Michigan, we can no longer just stand by and wait for the state and federal government to act,” said HEC Environmental Health and Water Policy Director Indra Frank. “The damage has to stop for the sake of everyone who gets their drinking water from the Lake; everyone who swims, fishes, or boats in the Lake; and the wildlife that make their home in the Lake.”