AK Steel News, 2001

Dec 28, 2001: Ohio's steely AK forges ahead

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK didn't escape unscathed this year. While prices plummeted and rivals rushed to bankruptcy court, AK posted losses in the first and third quarters. It reduced its quarterly stock dividend in January, dropped its common-stock dividend in the second quarter and dropped its preferred-stock dividend as well in the third quarter. Steel shipments fell nearly 9 percent in the first nine months. AK did have lower demand, particularly from the automakers that account for about half of its sales. But the shipment decline was mostly because of the steel maker's decision to turn down some sales at low prices on the spot market, where steel is sold without long-term supply contracts," Sandra Livingston, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Dec 19, 2001: AK Steel asks court to block demand

CINCINNATI -- "AK Steel Corp. asked a federal judge Wednesday to block the state's demand that it submit a plan to reduce dust emissions from its Middletown steel mill. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency cannot impose that demand because it would conflict with a state judge's ruling that has already gone against the agency, AK Steel's lawyers said. The state's lawyers argued that the EPA's order is within its authority to enforce environmental protection laws. U.S. District Judge Herman Weber did not say when he will rule," Associated Press.

Dec 1, 2001: AK appears unlikely to avoid civil penalties

CINCINNATI -- "Ohio government is ready to resolve a lawsuit against AK Steel Corp. before the case goes to trial - but not without a 'civil penalty,' said Frank Reed, chief of Attorney General Betty Montgomery's environmental section. But AK Vice President of Public Affairs Alan McCoy said the state has settled enforcement cases without civil penalties, although he called that the 'exception rather than the rule.' . . . Installing new 'maximum achievable (pollution) control technology' on Middletown Works' blast furnace and basic oxygen furnace will cost about $80 million, McCoy said. AK will have to shut down its 1950s-era blast furnace to install the controls -- a difficult engineering feat, he said. And one that means a couple of months of lost production. 'And then you throw in this idea of civil penalties,' McCoy said. The technology could be required in two years, he said," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

Nov 30, 2001: State not about to walk away from fines against AK

CINCINNATI -- "'One person's punitive fine is another person's legitimate fine,' [Ohio Attorney General Betty] Montgomery said. But determining how fines are paid, she added, is 'open to negotiation.' Montgomery said it's possible to end the suit in a way that lets AK continue making steel in Ohio. The suit was in part a response to complaints dating back to 1991 about 'dust and debris' drifting from the Middletown Works, Montgomery said. She said her office reached a point where it could not 'in good conscience not file this lawsuit,' " Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

Nov 29, 2001: Few show support for AK at hearing

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel Corp. didn’t have many friends at an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency hearing at Middletown High School Wednesday evening. More than 20 people attended. Nine of ten speakers opposed modifying a permit which the agency says will let AK increase the amount of free cyanide in wastewater discharge from Middletown Works to the Great Miami River," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

Nov 9, 2001: AK Steel says federal judge bars State of Ohio from pursuing air pollution claims

MIDDLETOWN -- "'There seems to be no limit to the number of schemes the OEPA will devise in its quest to become judge, jury and executioner against AK Steel's Middletown Works,' said Alan H. McCoy, vice president of public affairs for AK Steel. 'Apparently the OEPA has little regard for the jurisdiction and ability of the very federal court where it has voluntarily sought to have its complaints against AK Steel judged,' said Mr. McCoy," release, AK Steel.

Nov 8, 2001: AK Steel says Ohio EPA public notice flatly wrong
Environmental agency intent on denigrating company

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel said today that recent public notices from the Ohio EPA regarding AK Steel contain false, misleading and inflammatory statements. The steelmaker asserts that the Ohio EPA is attempting to deliberately cast the company in a negative light as part of a strategy to further the agency’s litigation against AK Steel," release, AK Steel.

Nov 5, 2001: AK Steel estimate cut

NEW YORK -- "Investment firm Goldman Sachs today reduced its estimates for AK Steel to reflect the company's expectation that its pension fund will be underfunded after year's end. Analyst Aldo Mazzaferro widened his projected for fiscal year 2001 from 19 cents per share to 39 cents per share. In addition, he cut his fiscal year 2002 estimate from earnings of 72 cents per share to 20 cents per share. 'Our forward estimates are reduced by about 45 cents each year due to increased pension expense (non-cash),' Mazzaferro wrote in a research note,'" Dayton Business Journal.
Oct 20, 2001: AK Steel’s earnings plunge

MIDDLETOWN -- "For the first nine months, the company lost $16 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with last year’s profits of $116.9 million and $1.05 per share. Sales totaled $3.02 billion for the first nine months on 4.5 million tons shipped, compared with $3.55 billion and 4.9 million tons for the same period in 2000. The Middletown-based steelmaker employs 11,500 people in plants and offices in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Pennsylvania. The company also makes snow and ice control products and runs an industrial park in Houston," Associated Press.
Oct 17, 2001: Ohio EPA pulls steelmaker's exemption

COLUMBUS -- "The EPA said 167 nuisance complaints have been filed by individuals who contend that [AK Steel] plant emissions affect their health and enjoyment of their property," Dayton Business Journal.
Oct 14, 2001: Middletown finds its way
Industrial town grapples with change

MIDDLETOWN -- "A year ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed suit against AK Steel, accusing it of air, water and solid-waste pollution. It didn't come as news to residents of the Oneida neighborhood on AK's southern perimeter. They say soot from AK smokestacks coats their cars and homes. Not only that, they say, it stinks. 'The siding on my home is practically ruined,' said Raymond Agee, a retiree who lives on Navaho Street. 'I've taken to washing it by hand with an SOS pad. You can't just take a hose and wash it off. I was raised in this neighborhood, and it was never this bad.' Clark Thompson, whose house on Seneca Street is less than a mile from the nearest AK mill, said he wears a respirator when he mows his lawn or blows leaves. He said his air-conditioning intake filters are black," James McNair, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Oct 12, 2001: Environmentalism vital to community, Kennedy says

DAYTON -- "'All environmental laws are about imposing a free market on companies that are trying to externalize their costs,' [Robert F. Kennedy Jr.] said. 'Companies like AK Steel make their communities poorer while making themselves richer. They force the public to pay part of their costs of doing business,"" Dale Dempsey, Associated Press.
Oct 8, 2001: AK Steel rating reduced

NEW YORK -- "Moody's cut reflects its expectation that the current U.S. economic slowdown will contribute to continued weak levels in demand for the Middletown-based steelmaker's industrial end-use markets," Dayton Business Journal.
Moody's Investors Service ratings definitions
Sep 11, 2001: AK Steel lashes out at EPA lawsuit
Calls lawsuit ‘malicious and vindictive’ as oral arguments begin

CINCINNATI -- "'The U.S. claims are grossly overblown and misleading,' said Paul Casper, lead attorney for AK Steel. 'The government is engaged in an unconscionable attempt to defame AK Steel and paint one of the finest steel companies in the U.S. as a polluter.' . . . The trial, one of the biggest environmental actions in Ohio history, is being watched closely by environmental groups around the country. . . 'AK Steel is a company with a long and ugly record of non-compliance which continues to this day,' said Robert Darnell, attorney for the U.S. Justice Department. 'It represents a significant risk to the health of the people of Middletown,'" Dale Dempsey, Dayton Daily News.
Aug 22, 2001: Group alleges AK pollution

MIDDLETOWN -- "Tuesday's gathering of about nine people was the sixth for a group calling itself "United Neighbors Against Dirty Air" . . . Rollie Mullins credits Ohio Citizen Action with helping start the group. [Rachael] Belz and other activists started knocking on Oneida doors, and the neighborhood group first met in early June," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
Aug 2, 2001: Judge rules EPA notices to AK are void
MIDDLETOWN -- "'To the extent the [Ohio EPA] director intended through the issuance of the two [notice of violation] letters to revoke the company's codified exemption, he did not do so as a matter of law,' Stapleton wrote. He added that the exemption is intact until the Ohio EPA takes a 'valid final appealable action that revokes it,'" Thomas Knau, Middletown Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- "Court dismisses EPA letters," Dayton Business Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- "Judge rules in favor of AK Steel in environmental dispute," release, AK Steel.
Aug 1, 2001: Ohio EPA extends comment period for AK Steel draft air permit

COLUMBUS -- "Ohio EPA extended the deadline for receiving public comments on the draft permit to allow AK Steel to operate a back-up coke quench station. The deadline has been extended through Friday, August 17, 2001. The deadline was extended after Ohio EPA received citizen requests," release, Ohio EPA.
Jul 20, 2001: Foes say emissions a concern with AK's backup coke quench station

MIDDLETOWN -- "Environmental activists opposed to letting AK Steel Corp. use a backup coke quench station are quick these days to note this number: 36.5. That's the number of tons of particulate pollution AK's backup station emitted last year when it was used with emergency permission from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, according to Kurt Smith, an environmental compliance specialist with the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services. The latter agency monitors air quality in Southwest Ohio. 'It's a pretty big chunk,' said Marilyn Wall, a volunteer with the Sierra Club's Ohio chapter. It's more than the emissions the station would be allowed under a permit AK wants in order to use the backup station again, activists note," Thomas Knau, Middletown Journal.
Jul 10, 2001: AK, EPA face off in court

CINCINNATI -- "At one table were three representatives for the Middletown-based steelmaker; at another, six representatives for the Ohio and U.S. environmental protection agencies. In between was Judge Herman J. Weber and a pile of documents almost a foot tall," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
CINCINNATI -- "Civil suit against AK Steel opens," Dale Dempsey, Dayton Daily News.
Jul 9, 2001: EPA seeks input on steelmaker's plan

MIDDLETOWN -- " The station will spray water over the coke, emitting steam and matter into the atmosphere, which AK Steel has limited to 24.69 tons per year," Dayton Business Journal.
Jul 6, 2001: AK, EPA to meet in federal court Monday

MIDDLETOWN -- "The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency wants to join the U.S. EPA in the lawsuit, and a federal magistrate judge recommended the state agency be allowed to do that, OEPA officials said Thursday. ... Sierra Club and Citizen Action activists have visited Middletown neighborhoods talking to residents about AK, said Marilyn Wall, a volunteer with the Sierra Club's Ohio chapter. Her group's goal, she said, is to see 'compliance' with environmental laws, not job losses at AK," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
Jul 5, 2001: AK, EPA to meet in federal court Monday

MIDDLETOWN -- "The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency wants to join the U.S. EPA in the lawsuit, and a federal magistrate judge recommended the state agency be allowed to do that, OEPA officials said Thursday. ... Sierra Club and Citizen Action activists have visited Middletown neighborhoods talking to residents about AK, said Marilyn Wall, a volunteer with the Sierra Club's Ohio chapter. Her group's goal, she said, is to see 'compliance' with environmental laws, not job losses at AK," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
Jul 3, 2001: AK's coke plans to be reviewed

MIDDLETOWN -- "When water is applied to hot coke, steam results -- steam with 'particulate matter,' like dust or small particles, Thompson said. Emissions from the proposed tower are expected to be 180 pounds an hour of particulate matter, Thompson said. That amount does not include steam, he said. He said AK has volunteered to limit emissions at the proposed quench station to 24.7 tons of particulate matter a year," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
Jun 24, 2001: Health in jeopardy at creek, state says; Ohio EPA criticizes study reported by AK Steel

MIDDLETOWN -- "'The public should not be misinformed by the statements issued by AK Steel in a company press release on June 19,' according to an OEPA press release from Friday. ... 'We just thought that was irresponsible,' said Andrew Thompson, a spokesman for the OEPA of a press release by AK Steel saying the creek posed no threat. ... Alan McCoy, vice president of public affairs for AK Steel, said the company is not encouraging people to begin using Dicks Creek again," Lew Moores, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jun 23, 2001: Ohio EPA reiterates creek warnings

COLUMBUS -- "The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency this afternoon urged the public to continue heeding its advisories regarding Dicks Creek in Middletown. ... Fish consumption and contact advisories have been in effect there since 1995. AK Steel draws cooling water from the Great Miami River and discharges it after use through permitted outfalls in Dicks Creek," Dayton Business Journal.
Ohio EPA release.
Jun 21, 2001: Report refutes pollution findings at AK Steel; Private firm says U.S. EPA study has ‘substantial overestimation’ of problems caused by chemicals found in Dicks Creek

MIDDLETOWN -- "State and federal studies found polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at a concentration of 2.702 parts per billion in the creek. Ohio's standard for PCBs in surface water is 0.00079. The ARCADIS report found chemicals in the creek 10 to 100 times lower than what the U.S. EPA considers significant, according to AK Steel's press release," Dale Dempsey, Dayton Daily News.
"AK study disputes EPA PCB-dumping claims," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

Jun 19, 2001: AK Steel seeks [U.S.] EPA injunction

MIDDLETOWN -- "In a statement, [AK Steel Vice President Alan McCoy] said a study commissioned by the company shows creek contaminants to be '10 to 100 times below' levels the U.S. EPA categorizes as 'significant.' The agency had filed a lawsuit in June 2000, saying the chemicals posed 'an imminent and substantial endangerment.' Dayton Business Journal.
Jun 13, 2001:

CINCINNATI -- Citizen Action's Southwest Ohio Director Rachael Belz today posted on the organization's web site the full text of AK Steel's most recent '10-K' filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. AK Steel has threatened to close its furnace if it loses a pollution lawsuit. On June 6, Ohio Citizen Action and Ohio Sierra Club challenged AK with words from the company's own 10-K filing: 'Management believes that the ultimate disposition of the foregoing proceedings will not have, individually or in the aggregate, a material adverse effect on the company's consolidated financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.' In reply, AK Steel Vice President Alan McCoy said Citizen Action had taken "10-K statements out of context or fail[ed] to read them carefully," (Middletown Journal, June 8, 2001). The Environmental Proceedings section begins on page 4, and the passage in question is on page 5.
Jun 8, 2001: Groups claim AK 'fear mongering' environmental compliance costs

CINCINNATI -- "Rejecting the idea that environmental regulations might threaten part of AK Steel Corp.'s Middletown Works, Ohio Citizen Action and the Sierra Club's Ohio chapter are pointing to AK's 2001 securities commission filing. ... 'Management believes that the ultimate disposition of the foregoing proceedings will not have, individually or in the aggregate, a material adverse effect on the company's consolidated financial condition, results of operations or cash flows,' is one section [of the 10-K filing] the groups cite," (Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal).
Jun 6, 2001: Environmental groups support lawsuit against AK Steel

CINCINNATI -- "The files of our state¹s environmental agencies are bulging with years of citizen complaints about AK Steel. And one needs only spend an hour walking through the modest, well kept neighborhood next to AK Steel to see the stained homes and smell the foul air. Neighbors have sustained property damage to their homes, to their cars, and to other property. Their enjoyment of their property has been impaired by the thick, unceasing deposition of dust on their porches, swimming pools, and patio furniture. They can not enjoy a fresh breeze through an open window due to the regular release of rotten egg odors and pungent chemical fumes. Neighbors routinely suffer health effects such as irritated, burning eyes, nose, and throats," (Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action, Marilyn Wall, Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club).
May 16, 2001: Boehner tells U.S. EPA chief pollution suit 'counterproductive'

WASHINGTON, DC -- "'It gives the impression that Congressman Boehner is more interested in protecting the profits of AK Steel rather than the health of the people of Middletown, Ohio,' said Ed Hopkins of the Sierra Club. 'When agencies charged with protecting public health and the environment find violations of the law and litigate, the local congressman should not just step up to the company's defense,' he said," (Katherine Rizzo, Associated Press).

May 14, 2001: AK Steel has turn to shine

DAYTON -- "A group called Ohio Citizen Action is trying to set up a meeting between Middletown residents and AK Steel Chief Executive Officer Richard Wardrop to discuss concerns about pollution from the local steel mill. Residents have complained of a soot or powdery residue that coats cars and homes, as well as an acrid odor sometimes accompanied by a burning sensation in their eyes. ... Whatever its assessment of the true hazard of the discharge from its plants, the company owes it to the citizens to hear them out. ... The steelmaker has another chance to score some points with its neighbors by agreeing to this meeting," (editorial, Dayton Business Journal).

May 14, 2001: Group seeks pollution dialogue

DAYTON -- "Dozens of members of Ohio Citizen Action began scouring the Butler County community at the beginning of the month asking neighbors to join the group's Campaign for Safer Neighborhoods and asking them to write letters to Richard Wardrop Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of AK Steel. 'We've knocked on just about every door in Middletown in the past week,' said Rachael Belz, Southwest Ohio director for Ohio Citizen Action. 'The neighbors (who live next to AK's plant) that we've been talking to are concerned about the pollution,'" (Don Baker, Dayton Business Journal).

May 12, 2001: "You must stop the continued water, land and air pollution, by whatever means you can"

MIDDLETOWN -- "The kinds of commitments neighbors and workers need from AK Steel Middletown include stopping the illegal leeching of PCBs into Dick's Creek; stopping the dust, kish and particles from reaching the community and making neighbors sick; and working with all workers and neighbors to be a real good neighbor in Middletown. Over the next year, we will continue to take this campaign door-to-door, neighbor-to-neighbor, worker-to-worker all over Southwest Ohio until AK Steel commits to making real changes that help the workers and the neighbors," (AK Steel rally speech, Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action).

May 11, 2001: "25 years is far too long"

MIDDLETOWN -- "Many of the neighbors, especially those living closest to the plant, have been dealing with the kish, soot and particulate air pollution for well over 25 years. This is far too long to breathe, live and play in such pollution. Of course, the first people affected by such pollution are your workers. Many companies with long-standing pollution problems such as yours have been able to resolve these issues by working with neighbors and workers to make changes that eliminate or significantly reduce the pollution at the source. This not only makes good business sense, but it begins to build real trust about your commitments to worker's and neighbor's health, safety and quality of life," (letter to Richard Wardrop, AK Steel, from Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action).

May 4, 2001: AK Steel spars with EPA over pollution
Company faces orders to reduce contaminants

DAYTON -- "AK Steel Corp. is in the middle of an environmental firestorm. While the Middletown-based steelmaker successfully pushes its plants and equipment to maximum productivity, state and federal governments say the company has been pushing toxic discharges beyond allowable limits. AK Steel officials would not comment for this story, but documents the company filed earlier this year with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reveal AK Steel had five environmental liabilities pending against it in the last year," (Don Baker, Dayton Business Journal).


Front: Brian Riggle, Rachael Belz, Meagan Davis, Rachel Bell, Jody Stevenson, Jennifer Macht, Jill Price.
Back: Trish Lanahan, Carrie Watson, Matt Stutler, Bob Hyland, Nathan Hoffman, Shawn Goodpastor, Roy Sizemore, Kevin Arnott, Julie Murphy, Adam Haase, Todd Clayton, Greg Dominic, Gina Mathias, Taneli Potticary (hidden), Stephanie Gutgesell, Jeff Goddin, Mark Nelson.

May 4, 2001: Door-to-door canvassing in Middletown kicks off AK Steel good neighbor campaign

MIDDLETOWN -- This week Ohio Citizen Action canvassers kicked off the AK Steel good neighbor campaign in Middletown. The Cincinnati and Columbus area door-to-door canvassing staffs talked with thousands of AK Steel's neighbors about the company's pollution. Marilyn Wall, board member of Ohio Citizen Action and the chair of ECO: Environmental Community Organization, said, "AK Steel has plagued families in the region for decades. The air stinks, the water is polluted and workers have been killed at the facility. It is time for the company to clean up its act. AK Steel can provide good jobs and protect the environment at the same time. We insist they do so," (Ohio Citizen Action).

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