AK Steel News: Jan - Jun 2003

Jun 29:   AK Steel's CEO bonuses survive

MIDDLETOWN -- "[Standard & Poor's steel industry analyst Leo] Larkin said: 'It certainly makes no sense considering what has taken place under his stewardship.'. . . the companyís stock price has fallen from a high of $12.81 on June 28, 2002, to a low of $2.75 on April 30. In terms of shareholder return, '[AK Steel managers] certainly have not outperformed their peers or the Standard & Poor's 500,' [Paul Hodgson, senior research associate with the Corporate Library] said. 'Itís kind of scandalous in a way,' Larkin said," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

WEST CHESTER -- "AK Steel should pay to clean up its messes," Gabriel C. Jones, letter to the editor, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jun 28:   AK refusing to pay any fines

MIDDLETOWN -- "As long as AK Steel Corp. refuses to 'pay any penalty,' settlement of a state and federal lawsuit against the company 'will remain impossible,' Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Christopher Jones wrote in a letter dated Friday," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
Jun 27:   Ball in Armco Employees Independent Federation's court

MIDDLETOWN -- "[AEIF President Ed] Shelley declined to reveal what AK officials told union representatives. . . . Said Shelley, 'We will meet internally and decide where to go.' Another meeting between AK and AEIF officials is tentatively set for Thursday, Shelley said. He didn't know when the AEIF board will decide on its next step, but he said a decision would come 'soon,'" Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel asking unions to help make company more competitive," Associated Press.
Jun 26:   "Richard Wardrop's tactic of urging letters and postcards to your office surprises me."

CINCINNATI -- "Since May 1, 2001, the Cincinnati office of Ohio Citizen Action has collected and documented 24,746 personal letters written to Richard Wardrop and the other eight AK Steel board members, all of which have gone unanswered at the instruction of Richard Wardrop," Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action, letter to Ohio Gov. Bob Taft.

MIDDLETOWN -- "Chamber urges members to Ďhelp saveí AK Steel jobs," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel, union to talk today," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
Jun 25:   Takeover Target?
Failed acquisition, rising costs weaken AK Steel

MIDDLETOWN -- "Described not long ago by Wall Street analysts as "the poster child for the new steel company," Middletown's AK Steel Corp. is suddenly seen as fighting for its survival. Having failed in its bid to acquire National Steel Corp., an effort that cost $5 million, industry analysts say AK Steel now has to come up with a strategy to make it as an integrated steel producer with high labor costs, continuing losses and dwindling cash. Following the recent absorption of National Steel and Bethlehem Steel by larger U.S. rivals, AK Steel is a smaller producer in a consolidating industry that's still plagued by excess capacity even after a wave of bankruptcies. Some analysts say its position is untenable," John Newberry, Cincinnati Post.
Jun 22:   AK Steel says state out to get it

MANSFIELD -- "The company should play by the EPA's rules, like everybody else, and can't expect much sympathy in Mansfield after locking out area Steelworkers for more than three years. AK Steel had a legitimate complaint against Gov. Bob Taft for visiting an AK customer in Mexico accompanied by an AK competitor. But AK stepped way out of bounds when company officials tried to suggest Taft was part of a conspiracy to wage war against the firm and its employees. AK Chairman Richard Wardrop made these charges against Taft in an ad last week in the News Journal and other Ohio newspapers. At issue is a three-year-old lawsuit between AK and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency over pollution controls at AK's Middletown plant," editorial, Mansfield News Journal.
Jun 20:   Steelworkers union stands by Taft versus AK Steel

MANSFIELD -- "The United Steelworkers of America called on AK Steel Corp. on Thursday to end its media campaign attacking Gov. Bob Taft. 'AK (Steel) is not interested in compromise when it comes to dispute resolution,' [Bill Coffindaffer, vice president of USWA Local 169] said. 'Its modus operandi has been to bully the other side into accepting whatever terms the company dictates, and we applaud the Taft administration's efforts to enforce the law fairly,'" David Benson, Mansfield News Journal.
Jun 18:   Taft: AK Steel campaign 'baseless'
Advertisement accuses governor of 'waging war' on the company

MANSFIELD -- "Gov. Bob Taft lashed out at AK Steel Corp. on Tuesday, calling the company's recent media campaign "reprehensible." In a strongly worded letter to AK Steel Chairman Richard Wardrop Jr., Taft characterized the campaign as "baseless ... aggressive misinformation." The letter implied the company was trying to position the state to take the blame for "possible impending changes in AK's operations in Ohio," Taft said. "Attempts to position the State of Ohio at odds with your employees, retirees and their communities are unprofessional, inaccurate and unwarranted," Taft wrote," David Benson, Mansfield News Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- "Gov. Taft challenges AKís 'misinformation'; Steelmaker ran full-page ad," Thomas Gnau, Cox News Service.

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel settles with General Motors," Associated Press.

HAMILTON -- "Butler County wants out of E-check; AK Steel could get air cleanup help," Steve Kemme, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jun 17:   AK Steel criticizes governor

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel refuses to pay fines over pollution of Dick's Creek in Butler County, and the case is slated for trial later this year. On Monday, AK Steel also accused the Ohio EPA of slanting environmental test results to make the violations look worse. Gov. Taft's spokesman, Orest Holubec, said the governor and AK Steel CEO Richard Wardrop Jr. spoke last week about the Mexico trip. The governor "let the CEO know that when he went to the meeting, he didn't know that AK Steel was a primary supplier for Lithonia and he said it was a mistake. We have contacted Lithonia in the meantime and endorsed AK Steel as a primary supplier of steel for the company," he said," John Byczkowski, Cincinnati Enquirer.

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel accuses state of fixing samples," Thomas Gnau, Cox News Service.
Jun 16: AK Steel announces it catches Ohio EPA 'cooking the books' on Dicks Creek PCB data to smear AK Steel

MIDDLETOWN -- "In a sworn affidavit, Dr. Timothy Barber, principal scientist with Arcadis G & M, an international environmental assessment firm retained by AK Steel, stated he witnessed an experienced Ohio EPA field technician "picking through" some 300 to 360 Dicks Creek sediment samples from AK Steel's property in order to select only material from the samples that appeared to contain the highest level of contamination. . . . 'The State of Ohio, through the Ohio EPA, is trying to distort the facts to mislead and alarm the public,' said Richard M. Wardrop, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of AK Steel. 'I am outraged at this further evidence of Ohio's high stakes vendetta against the employees of AK Steel," release, AK Steel.

NEW YORK -- "After losing National bid, AK Steel may be target," Michael Erman, Reuters.
Jun 14: AK Steel postcards to flood Taftís office

MIDDLETOWN -- "The cards consist of two brief paragraphs. They say Ohio government 'seems to want to force AK Steel out of business with massive lawsuits and unreasonable environmental demands. AK Steel employs 6,000 men and women in Ohio who contribute more than $2 billion annually to Ohioís economy,' the card says. 'I urge you to work to save this important employer in Ohio,'" Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
Jun 11: Nearly 23,000 letters press AK Steel to "come clean"
Company snubs neighbors, won't reply

Cincinnati canvassers

Larger photo of Cincinnati field canvassers, with names.

CINCINNATI -- "As of June 5, 2003, Ohio Citizen Action field canvassers from its Cincinnati office, above, and the statewide phone canvassers in Cleveland have collected 22,992 handwritten letters and petitions urging AK Steel executives and board to cut the pollution pouring out of the Middletown plant. AK Steel has failed to respond to a single one. Today, one field canvass crew is canvassing Symmes Township, and one is canvassing Kettering," Ohio Citizen Action.

MIDDLETOWN -- "Steel buyout talks heat up," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
Jun 7: AKís Wardrop critical of Taft in letter

MIDDLETOWN -- " [AK Steel CEO Richard Wardrop's letter concludes] 'When is your administration going to stop poking a stick into the eyes of AK Steel employees and their families in Middletown and across Ohio? Or should our Middletown Works employees conclude that your administration is only concerned about out-of-state or bankrupt steel companies?'" Eric Robinette, Middletown Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- "The State of Ohio is waging war on AK Steel," letter, Richard Wardrop to AK Steel 'employees, retirees, families, and friends', dated Jun 6.

MIDDLETOWN -- "Armco Employees Independent Federation weighs talks on AK Steel competitiveness" Joseph Roberts, Middletown Journal.

Jun 6: Union at AK Steel Middletown Works:
AEIF pact talks may reopen

MIDDLETOWN -- "'We're looking for some very constructive dialogue' with the Armco Employees Independent Federation, McCoy said Thursday. . . [AK Steel Vice President of Public Affairs Alan] McCoy said it was too soon to talk about what the union might offer," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

HAMILTON -- "Butler County Commissioners plan to back AK Steel", Jessica Brown, Middletown Journal.
Jun 1: AK Steel political solution seems bleak

MIDDLETOWN -- "Talk to local government representatives, and a political solution to the challenges confronting AK Steelís Middletown Works seems improbable, if not downright impossible. . . the Middletown Works blast furnace has not been re-lined since 1984. AKís leaders and workers have been proud about how long they have been able to operate the furnace without re-lining, but when that maintenance becomes necessary, it could cost $100 million or more," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- "Chamber may have been 'caught in a cross-fire'", Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
May 26: Stockholders succeed in stopping big CEO bucks

NEW YORK, NY -- "Shareholders fed up with watching their investments being demolished have organized a global rebellion and have taken their ire to annual meetings. In my analysis of 17 major companies that are eyeing golden parachute shareholder proposals, all posted negative stock price returns -- even with dividends reinvested -- from May 17, 2002, through May 16 of this year. . . The companies reconsidering CEO severance packages lost an average 24 percent in share price during the period. AK Steel Holding Corp., a steel company, was the biggest loser, with a 77 percent decline," John Wasik, Bloomberg News.
May 24: Works decision in 'few months'

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel Corp. leaders may decide the fate of Middletown Worksí steelmaking operations ó and up to 2,000 jobs there ó in a 'few months,' a company spokesman said Friday. 'This is not a threat,' [AK Vice President of Public Affairs Alan] McCoy said. . . . 'There's a very real concern that this is some sort of posturing,' said Mark Gribben, spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
May 23: AK Steel: Rules threaten future
Federal standards must be met in 3 years

MIDDLETOWN -- "Tova Findley, a pregnant Middletown mother, has lived here for 13 years. She is skeptical of AK Steel's threats. 'They've been here for a long time,' said Findley, who lives a few miles from the plant. 'Clean it up or close it down. Our children's lives are definitely worth more than whatever AK brings to Middletown,'" Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
May 21: AK Steel union officials worried

MIDDLETOWN -- "The president of the union representing workers at AK Steel Corp.ís Middletown Works has asked AK management for a response to "widespread" concerns about the fate of the millís 'hot' or steel-making end. . . Asked Tuesday if an announcement on the plantís future can be expected, [AK Vice President of Public Affairs Alan McCoy] declined comment," Dayton Daily News.
May 17: Documentation:
Report begins linking PCBs in Dick's Creek to AK Steel

MIDDLETOWN -- "PCBs in the soil near Amanda Elementary School appear to be chemically linked to PCBs at AK Steel's facility, according to the Ohio EPA report referenced above. Samples taken from Dick's Creek behind Amanda Elementary School contained PCBs at 2,000 parts per billion, and a nearby test site located in Dick's Creek near the intersection of Yankee and Oxford State Roads showed PCB levels of 5,900 parts per billion. The water quality standard for human health for PCBs is .00017 parts per billion," Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action.
May 12: Now on line:
Photos from press conference on AK Steel and PCB pollution in Middletown

MIDDLETOWN -- Photos from Friday's Press conference at Amanda Elementary School, including Susan Knight, Ohio Sierra Club; Dr. David Carpenter, State University of New York - Albany; and Middletown residents Tracy Beckman and Ray Agee.
May 10: Ohio EPA, Sierra Club at odds over pollution results

MIDDLETOWN -- "At a press conference on the property of old Amanda School Friday, activists presented Dr. David Carpenter, professor of environmental health and toxicology at the University at Albany, State University of New York. 'You can breathe these in,' Carpenter said of PCBs. 'You can absorb these into your skin if you go wading into contaminated sediment,'" Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
May 9: Dicks Creek PCB levels deemed 'dangerous'

MIDDLETOWN -- "[Dr. David O. Carpenter, a physician and former dean of the School of Public Health at the University at Albany, State University of New York] said the 'cancer-causing' effects of PCBs have been known for years. But he said neurological ailments resulting from PCB exposure, especially among growing children, are beginning to be better understood. Those ailments include a weakened attention span, lowered intelligence and hormonal alterations. 'These are very dangerous chemicals, and probably the greatest concern I would have is exposure to little girls,' Carpenter said," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- "PCBs in creek linked to AK Steel; Sierra Club points to plant," Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.

MIDDLETOWN -- "Steelmaker disputes environmentalists' study," Associated Press.

MIDDLETOWN -- "High PCB levels found in creek; Activists: Samples point to AK Steel," Thomas Gnau, Dayton Daily News.

May 8: Danger lurks in Dick's Creek
AK Steel denies blame for PCB pollution

MIDDLETOWN -- "One of the most polluted waterways in the state, the sediment at the bottom of Dick's Creek would be classified as hazardous waste if found in a landfill, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Signs posted around the creek warn people to steer clear. That's because of high levels of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, which have been recorded at 2,000 to 3,000 times the limit considered safe by the federal Clean Water Act. . . . 'That creek was pristine when I was growing up,' said [Ray] Agee, 62. 'I've gone back there and seen bicycle tracks, footprints and mud. I know kids are still getting in that water, and I'm afraid for them. It's a great loss,'" Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.

MIDDLETOWN -- "Sierra Club finds high level PCBs in Middletown creek," Shawn Ley, WCPO-TV News, Cincinnati.

CINCINNATI -- "Sierra Club claims AK Steel polluted creek with PCBs," Cincinnati Business Courier.

May 7: Activists say PCBs found in creek

MIDDLETOWN -- "'Extremely high levels' of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, have been found in Dicks Creek, according to environmental activists who say they will reveal this week what they believe is the source of those chemicals," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
May 6: Standard & Poor's cuts AK Steel Holding Corporation

NEW YORK, NY -- "Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it has lowered its corporate credit rating on integrated steel producer AK Steel Corp. and its parent, AK Steel Holding Corp. to 'BB-' from 'BB' and removed the ratings from CreditWatch with negative implications based on concerns regarding its legacy (pension and retiree medical benefits) costs. Middleton, Ohio-based AK Steel has about $1.3 billion in total debt. The current outlook is negative. 'The rating actions reflect AK's weakening financial profile resulting from its substantial and growing legacy liabilities and concerns about the company's competitive position versus its main rivals who have shed significant legacy liabilities and obtained union agreements that provide labor cost savings,' said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Paul Vastola," Standard & Poor's.

NEW YORK, NY -- "Moody's may still cut AK Steel ratings; approximately $1.2 Billion of debt securities affected," Moody's Investors Service.
May 4: Grass still green for top execs
Neither recession nor stock slump nor falling profits can keep region's top executives from making more money in 2002 than they did in 2001

PITTSBURGH, PA -- "AK Steel Chairman Richard M. Wardrop Jr. took home $7.3 million last year, 5 percent less than 2001 but still enough to rank No. 6. His shareholders took an even bigger haircut. They lost 30 percent on their investment last year, and are down 55 percent over the last three years and 49 percent over the last five years. Wardrop was buoyed by a long-term incentive bonus of $2.2 million last year, helping to keep him afloat while AK lost $502.4 million," Len Boselovic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

May 3: AK Steel 'puzzled' by site's spot on U.S. EPA list

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel's immediate corporate predecessor, Armco Steel Co. L.P. (Limited Partnership), which existed from 1989 to 1994, used the site briefly, [AK Steel Vice President of Public Affairs Alan] McCoy said. It was shut down for good in 1990 or 1991, he said. 'There's nothing left there,' McCoy said. But the U.S. EPA said in a statement this week that something is there -- contamination of 'metals, hydrocarbons, PCBs and other chemicals.' The site is a half-mile from municipal water wells, the agency said. Asked if the area is a threat to drinking water, [Pablo Valentin, a remedial project manager at the U.S. EPA's Region 5 headquarters in Chicago] said: 'At this moment, we don't know. That's why we're doing the investigation,'" Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
May 2: U.S. EPA targets Armco

CINCINNATI -- "The 120-acre Armco site produced coke and iron from 1937 until 1991. EPA officials said it is contaminated with metals, hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). A waste landfill on the site was not lined or equipped with a system to collect seeping water, polluted sludge and slag was dumped on the property, and contaminated sediments were in a stream that runs into the Great Miami River," Thomas Gnau, Associated Press.
U.S. EPA Region 5 press release.
April 30: Fallen steel workers remembered
Armco Employees Independent Federation pays tribute to 98 from AK Steel, Armco

MIDDLETOWN -- "For the 12th year, candles were lit Monday at AEIF headquarters to remember those Armco and AK Steel workers who died on the job. Red, white and purple carnations adorned linen-covered tables in the meeting room of the Crawford Street home of the Armco Employees Independent Federation. A table was covered in 98 white candles, one for each worker who has died, by the unionís count, in or after on-the-job accidents. The AEIF represents more than 3,000 workers at AKís Middletown Works," Craig Heimbuch, Middletown Journal.
April 29: AK Steel Holding downgraded to 'sell'

NEW YORK, NY -- "Analysts at Prudential Financial downgrade A K Steel Holding (AKS) from "hold" to "sell." The target price has been reduced from $9 to $2. . . . With recovery looking doubtful, Prudential Financial predicts a slow death, rather than immediate bankruptcy, for the company, and downgrades AK Steel Holding to 'sell,'" Prudential Securities.
April 26: Slagle accepts chamber leadership

MIDDLETOWN -- "Former Armco executive Richard Slagle suddenly finds himself interim leader of the Mid-Miami Valley Chamber of Commerce as the chamber faces two key leadership vacancies. Slagle accepted what he called the 'assignment' Friday, the same day Chamber Board of Directors Chairman Dan Sack resigned his position. . . . The 580-member chamber has seen a leadership shakeup in the wake of the cityís largest employer, AK Steel Corp., quitting the organization earlier this month. Former President David Daugherty resigned last week," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK suffers 'very tough quarter,'" Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- "'We're moving on,'" Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
April 25: AK Steel 1st-quarter loss widens, shipments fall

NEW YORK, NY -- "The company, which makes flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products, said its net loss was $40.8 million, or 38 cents per share, compared with a loss of $25.6 million, or 24 cents, a year earlier. Last week, AK Steel's attempt to acquire bankrupt National Steel Corp. for $925 million was trumped by a lower bid by United States Steel Corp., in part because U.S. Steel had managed to secure a critical labor deal. AK Steel had not been able to reach an accord with the United Steelworkers of America union, which threatened a strike at National Steel plants if the bankrupt company accepted AK Steel's bid for its assets," Reuters.
April 19: Chamberís David Daugherty resigns

MIDDLETOWN -- "Two weeks ago, AK Steel Corp., the chamberís largest member, resigned from the organization on the same day well known Cincinnati class-action litigation attorney Stan Chesley was the invited speaker at a chamber luncheon. Chesley has litigated against AK. . . . 'If it's all due to the AK situation, Iím very disappointed,' said Tom Blake, an 'ex-officio' chamber board member and chairman of Middletown Economic Development Corp. . . Added Blake, 'It all seems sort of strange,'" Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
April 17: Residents protest AK Steel request

CINCINNATI -- ". . . in the past the Ohio EPA detected cancer-linked PCB chemicals in creek soil. The dangerous chemical was also linked to discharges coming from nearby AK Steel. Resident Ray Agee lives behind the AK Steel plant. "I used to swim in that creek years ago," Agee said. . . . He also believes plant particles have damaged the paint on his truck and has collected metallic particles from his home's gutters, but now his focus is on Dick's Creek as AK Steel is asking the Ohio EPA for permission to discharge even higher levels of waste into the creek. 'I think the creek should be cleaned up and be put back to some sort condition that would not harm anyone who happened to be in it or around it. I don't think AK Steel has the right to destroy public property,'" Shawn Ley, WCPO-TV 9 (ABC).

April 16 - 18 television coverage:
  1. Cincinnati 5 WLWT 11:00 PM News
    EPA Hearing: Permit Application from AK Steel. Held at Middletown High School. No waste water should be allowed in Dick's Creek

  2. Cincinnati 9 WCPO 5:30 PM News
    Middletown Hearing tonight over AK Steel.

  3. Cincinnati 9 WCPO 11:00 PM News
    Dick's Creek. Unsafe water, do not swim, bathe,drink or fish. EPA detected cancer linked SCB chemicals in creek soil. Discharges coming from AK Steel. Ray Agee, resident comments on Dick' Creek. EPA Hearing tonight on AK Steel. Stephen Haughey, AK Steel's Attorney.

  4. Cincinnati 5 WLWT 5:00 AM News
    EPA Hearing for AK Steel waste water. Scenes.

  5. Cincinnati 5 WLWT 12:00 PM News
    EPA hearing AK Steel meeting Middletown High School Dick's Creek

  6. Cincinnati 9 WCPO 5:00 AM News
    AK Steel. AK Steel wants to increase waste water discharge. Residents spoke out against the discharge. Scenes. Ray Agee, Middletown comments on danger in the water. Company treats the waste water before discharging.

  7. Cincinnati 12 WKRC 5:00 PM News
    Controversy over new permit allowing to dump waste water in creek.

  8. Columbus 57 ONN 12:00 PM Ohio Today
    Activists want Ohio regulators not to renew a state permit that would allow AK Steel to pump treated waste water into a creek near Middletown plant

  9. 57 ONN 6:00 PM Tonight
    AK Steel Permit; Activists don't want state regulators to renew a state permit that would allow AK Steel to pump treated waste water into a creek near AK Steel in Middletown plant; AK Steel

  10. Dayton 7 WHIO 11:00 PM News
    AK Steel Controversy. Environmental activists are working to stop AK Steel from dumping waste into a creek right near the plant. V AK Steel.

  11. Dayton 22 WKEF 6:00 PM News
    AK Steel Pollution Permit. Neighbors of AK Steel are asking Ohio regulators to deny the company a renewal of its state permit to pump excess waste water into Dick's Creek. AK Steel.

  12. Dayton 45 WRGT 10:00 PM News
    AK Steel Pollution. Neighbors of AK Steel want Ohio regulators to deny the company a renewal of its discharge permit.

  13. Dayton 7 WHIO 5:30 AM News
    AK Steel Controversy. Enviromental activists are doing everything they can to prevent AK Steel from receiving a permit to pump waste into a creek.
April 15: Five workers burned in AK Steel flash-fire

MIDDLETOWN -- "Two employees were taken to the hospital and three were treated at AK Steelís medical facility Monday after a flash-fire in the coke plant near Oxford State Road. The crew was doing maintenance work on a pipe when escaped coke-oven gas ignited at 2:19 p.m. . . . [Alan McCoy, AKís vice president of public affairs,] said the fire did not stop the plantís operations, but its cause is under investigation," Joseph Roberts, Middletown Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- "'Flashback' fire hurts five AK Steel workers," Cincinnati Enquirer.

MIDDLETOWN -- "Two injured in AK Steel plant blaze," Cincinnati Post.
April 11: Public hearing notice: April 16
Voice your concerns about unsafe levels of PCBs in Middletown

MIDDLETOWN -- On Wednesday, April 16, 2003, at 7:00 PM, the Ohio EPA will hear comments on AK Steel's request for a new wastewater discharge permit. The hearing will be in the Middletown High School Cafeteria. "There are no safe levels of PCBs. PCBs have been shown to cause harm to animals in the parts per trillion range. . . Any additional PCBs discharged by AK Steel will add to the PCBs in the sediment of Dickís Creek. Given the current levels of PCBs in the creek, which are high and harmful, no additional PCBs should be allowed in the creek," flier, Ohio Citizen Action.
April 9: Chamber of commerce hopes to win back AK Steel

MIDDLETOWN -- "[AK Steel Vice President of Public Affairs Alan] McCoy declined to comment on whether [attorney Stanley] Chesley's speech played a role in the company's decision. In 1996, Chesley represented the families of two workers killed in an explosion at the Middletown Works. The company and the families eventually reached a confidential settlement. Chesley said he was 'flabbergasted' by reports that his speech, which didn't mention AK Steel, might have played a role in the company's withdrawal. 'I think it's petty and childish' if true, he said. A couple of years ago, the company withdrew from the Washington, D.C.-based American Iron and Steel Institute after disagreeing with some of its policies," Mike Boyer, Cincinnati Enquirer
April 5: AK Steel pulls out of chamber

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel Corp. has left the Mid-Miami Valley Chamber of Commerce. AK, one of the largest employers in the region, withdrew Thursday because 'the chamber was not serving our needs,' AK Vice President of Public Affairs Alan McCoy said. McCoy would not say why the company left the chamber, but he said AK may consider re-joining in the future if 'we believe it is beneficial.' The steelmaker left the chamber on the same day Cincinnati attorney Stanley Chesley spoke before a chamber luncheon at Forest Hills Country Club. In 1996, Chesley represented the families of two workers killed in an April 1994 explosion at AKís Middletown Works," Lauren Pack, Middletown Journal.
March 27: PCB Congress convenes

FAIRFIELD, CT -- "Dr. David Carpenter told the group that research he is conducting could create a link between PCBs and health issues such as cancer. He said he is also studying the possibility that PCBs can enter the human body through the air, something that has been dismissed in the past. . . . [Dennis Prevost] said five children born to four families on Putnam Street in Fort Edward contracted brain cancer. One of those affected was Prevost's brother, who died in 2000. Fort Edward, located on the Hudson River 40 miles north of Albany, is home to a GE production facility that used PCBs for years. GE is currently working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to dredge the river where the PCBs have built up. Prevost said there are numerous cancer clusters in Fort Edward and pockets of children who have learning disorders," Rob Varnon, Connecticut Post.

MADISON, WI -- "Rules would control use of PCB-laden soils on farms," John Dipko, Green Bay Press-Gazette.
March 26: AK Steel campaign activists at first national 'PCB Congress'

FAIRFIELD, CT -- Three leaders of the AK Steel good-neighbor campaign in Middletown, Ohio, are in Fairfield, Connecticut, for the first national 'PCB Congress'. Marilyn Wall, Rivers Unlimited; Susan Knight, Ohio Sierra Club; and Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action, have joined 100 other community leaders from across the continent fighting for clean-ups in their PCB contaminated neighborhoods and rivers. Among other speakers, world PCB expert Dr. David Carpenter will present and analyze site-specific data. Communities to be represented also include Anniston, Alabama; Pittsfield and New Bedford, Massachusetts; Fort Edward, Hudson Falls and other Hudson River communities and Brockport, New York. Others joining the Congress include First Nations Yuípik representatives from Alaska, Akwesasne Mohawks from the St. Lawrence River in New York and Indigenous community representatives from Matamoros, Mexico.

FAIRFIELD, CT -- "Environmentalists meet on PCBs; Congress begins today at Fairfield University," Pam Dawkins, Connecticut Post.

MIDDLETOWN -- "Activists target AK Steel in video," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
March 21: Photos and documentary target AK Steel

CINCINNATI -- "A new photo exhibit and documentary slated for March 22 will document the struggles between environmental activists and AK Steel. The show, 'Envision,' highlights efforts by local artists and activists, who claim AK Steel should be doing more to protect the environment near the steelmaker's home in Middletown," Cincinnati Business Courier.
March 19: Documentary highlights pollution's toll in Middletown

CINCINNATI -- "A human face has finally been put on the problems of air and water pollution in Middletown. In February 2000 several environmental groups -- the Sierra Club, EarthCare, Ohio Citizen Action and Environmental Community Organization -- came together to begin filming the documentary AK Come Clean. The problems of pollution surrounding AK Steel aren't new, according to Rachel Belz, director of Ohio Citizen Action. 'AK Steel has been polluting the air in and around Middletown for over 30 years,' she says," April Martin, Cincinnati City Beat.
March 12: Save the date:
AK Come Clean documentary premiere, March 22 in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI -- "Join artists and environmentalists as we gather to share the story of the Middletown community's struggle for clean air and water at the premiere of the AK Come Clean documentary, edited by award-winning filmmaker Barb Wolf. Also: Photos by acclaimed photographer Jimmy Heath and art by the University of Cincinnati's Chris Corbett," Sierra Club, EarthCare, Ohio Citizen Action and ECO.
March 4: Hearing set for AK Steel

COLUMBUS -- "AK Steel Corp. wants to renew a permit on disposing wastewater from its Middletown Works, but with a new element, according to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency: The company wants to discharge water treated for PCBs to Dicks Creek. The water, used to quench hot slag, now goes to a sump, or receptacle, said Mary Osika, a surface water specialist with the agency's Dayton office. "It's a proposed discharge from a PCB-treatment system to Dicks Creek," Osika said.," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.
Ohio EPA notice full text.
March 2: AK Steel files application to pollute

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel Corporation's preferred wastewater disposal alternative submitted for approval is proposed to treat approximately 14 million gallons per day of industrial wastewaters associated with steel making. . . the proposed discharges are to the North Branch of Dick's Creek, Dick's Creek, and subseqently the Great Miami River," notice, Ohio EPA [Emphasis added].
Feb 20: Bidding for National Steel gets personal
Former U.S. Steel executive ups the ante on his old employer

PITTSBURGH -- "Thirteen years ago, Richard M. Wardrop Jr. resigned as general manager of U.S. Steel's Mon Valley Works after an audit revealed he and other individuals had used company funds to purchase ski passes, golf clubs and other goods for personal use. These days, the stakes between the temperamental, impulsive Wardrop and his former employer are much larger," Len Boselovic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Feb 7: Steel supplier Is threatening to drop General Motors

DETROIT -- "The largest steel supplier to General Motors is threatening to cut off shipments because of a dispute over contract terms that has turned into a legal battle. For G.M., the world's largest automaker, the halt of steel shipments from AK Steel, based in Middletown, Ohio, could lead to layoffs at 15 factories and tens of millions of dollars in losses a day. The dispute centers on long-term steel contracts that run from the beginning of 2000 through the end of 2004. Under the terms of the contracts, the price paid by G.M. declines over time. But AK Steel contends in court filings that new inspection, testing and quality control systems requested by G.M. increased its costs and that it was not compensated, as required by the contract. The dispute is a sign that the balance of power between steel companies and automakers is less one-sided than it used to be," Danny Hakim, New York Times.
Jan 24: New bidder tops U.S. Steel offer for National

NEW YORK -- "The AK Steel Holding Corporation began a bidding war yesterday for the National Steel Corporation, offering $825 million for the company, topping an earlier bid of $750 million from U. S. Steel. The steel industry, run down by decades of decline, struggling with rising pension and health care costs and facing stiff competition from overseas competitors, is littered with the husks of bankrupt companies like National. More than 25 steel companies are in bankruptcy, and analysts say a consolidation wave is sweeping the industry. Five years from now, analysts predict, only about five major steel companies will be left in the United States, with companies like AK, based in Middletown, Ohio, and U. S. Steel, based in Pittsburgh, expected to be among the survivors," Timothy O'Brien, New York Times.
Jan 21: Hritz new president of AK Steel

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel has named John G. Hritz, executive vice president, to the post of president. Chairman Richard M. Wardrop, who has served as president since the retirement of James M. Wareham last year, announced the promotion of Mr. Hritz, 48, who joined the company in 1989 as counsel. Mr. Hritz has held a number of executive posts, most recently overseeing steel operations, commercial and other functions," Mike Boyer, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jan 5: Plain Dealer names Marilyn Wall a '2002 Ohioan of the Year'
Paper cites AK Steel campaign leadership

CLEVELAND -- "'We don't want to shut down AK Steel,' says Marilyn Wall. 'We want them to invest in the future of Middletown.' Wall has the support of Ohio Citizen Action, the state's largest environmental rights organization: 'You need a trailblazer. This is scary stuff in a company town. People have to see other people taking risks,' says Executive Director Sandy Buchanan," Cleveland Plain Dealer, issue dated Dec 29.
Jan 4: Two environmental groups join AK suit

CINCINNATI -- "A federal judge has granted the request of two national environmental groups to join as plaintiffs in a 2-year-old pollution suit against Middletown-based AK Steel. The Sierra Club and National Resources Defense Council asked U.S. District Judge Herman Weber to let them join the federal government and state of Ohio in suing the steel maker for alleged pollution violations at the Middletown Works," Cincinnati Enquirer.