AK Steel, Middletown

Dec 10, 2008: Residents urged to read air quality report with caution
USA Today ranked air outside schools across the country, including those in Butler and Warren counties

MIDDLETOWN -- "Environmental, school and business leaders are urging parents to use caution when examining a USA Today report that ranks air quality outside schools across the country, including those in Butler and Warren counties... AK Steel spokesman Alan McCoy said the report is 'unnecessarily alarming.' McCoy said since the report uses 2005 data it is outdated and requires a 'healthy dose of skepticism and review.' Since 2005, AK Steel has invested $65 million on new air emission controls for furnaces at Middletown Works. 'We take our environmental responsibility very seriously,' he said. Evertz and AK Steel were listed as top contributors to pollution outside Amanda Elementary School, which was listed in the top one percentile of schools with poor air quality, according to the USA Today report," Meagan Engle, Middletown Journal.

Aug 25: West Carrollton man, 26, dies at AK Steel

MIDDLETOWN -- "A 26-year-old West Carrollton man died in an apparent industrial accident at AK Steel, the third death at the facility in less than three years. Mike Lewis of West Carrollton died at around 2 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 24 while changing a tire on a tractor-trailer, according to Middletown police. Lewis was an employee of RMB Enterprises, according to police. This is the second death involving an employee of RMB Enterprises, a Fostoria-based contractor. In 2007, a man working for RMB was killed at AK Steel when a tractor-trailer tire separated from the rim and exploded," Eric Schwartzberg, Dayton Daily News.

Jul 8: Planners getting ready for coke plant redo

MIDDLETOWN -- "Back to the future is one way to look at this week's Middletown Planning Commission meeting as it begins the concurrent process to amend the city's zoning code for a proposed $350 million cokemaking and electric generation plant... 'If the members of the planning commission studied the requests and if they have talked to Middletown people who have a stake in this, I just can't see how they could approve this,' said Frank Schiavone, whose home at 6978 Hamilton-Middletown Road, also is adjacent to the site, but within Monroe's borders. 'The planners have had a chance to reflect on this for a few months,' he said. 'But this would change the character of the city (if it's approved),'" Ed Richter, Middletown Journal.

Jun 25: EPA seeks comments on AK Steel disposal well

A statue of founder George M. Verity outside the AK Steel headquarters in Middletown.
MIDDLETOWN -- "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 asks the public to provide information that could affect its decision to approve a request from AK Steel Corporation. AK Steel wants an exemption that allows the company to continue to dispose of hazardous waste from its steelmaking operations into two existing underground injection wells on its property in Middletown, Ohio. The original exemption from federal restrictions on land disposal of hazardous waste was approved in 1990. EPA tentatively plans to re-issue the exemption pending public comment," Reliable Plant.

MIDDLETOWN -- AK named 'World-Class Steelmaker', Jessica Lander-Heffner, Middletown Journal.

Jun 10: Monroe schools join fight against coke plant site

MONROE -- "Monroe Local Schools is joining the fight in opposing the site of a proposed $340 million coke plant in Middletown. The Board of Education voted unanimously, 5-0, Monday night, June 9, to approve a resolution declaring that the board does not support the city of Middletown's actions in rezoning land for a proposed cokemaking and heat recovery plant. SunCoke Energy of Knoxville, Tenn., wants to build, own and operate the plant on 157 acres off Ohio 4 in Middletown near the Monroe border. SunCoke and AK Steel Corp. signed a 20-year agreement to be the sole customer for the coke and electricity produced by the plant," Denise Wilson, Middletown Journal.

Jun 8: Zoning do-over in coke plant draws praise
Some critics said not enough time was spent on decision involving land for cokemaking plant

MIDDLETOWN -- "The city's decision to re-enact the entire rezoning process for the 157-acre tract of land targeted for a proposed $340 million cokemaking and electric generation plant apparently pleased some opponents who said not enough time was spent discussing and reviewing the issue... Frank Schiavone, of 6978 Hamilton-Middletown Road, whose property is adjacent to where the proposed plant will be located, said Friday, June 6, he was on top of the world for a number of reasons," Ed Richter, Middletown Journal. Published June 7.

Jun 6: City to re-enact SunCoke zoning
Process will go back through planning commission, council rather than through courts after Garden Manor filed suit

MIDDLETOWN -- "At the request of SunCoke Energy Inc., the city of Middletown will go through the entire rezoning process, which also means proponents and opponents will again have the opportunity to make comments at public hearings. The city and SunCoke both say the rezoning of 157 acres between Ohio 4 and Yankee Road in the 2nd Ward was 'in accordance with all applicable laws,' but said it would be easier to re-enact the zoning request and address some of the alleged deficiencies rather than go through litigation, said Sara Mills, the city's assistant law director," Ed Richter, Middletown Journal.

Jun 3: First phase of Dicks Creek clean-up complete

Erosion control matting being spread along the bank of Dicks Creek.
MIDDLETOWN -- "According to a report from AK Steel, the first steps of cleaning up PCBs from the contaminated Dicks Creek and Monroe Ditch have been completed. The work, being done under a court agreement with the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, U.S. EPA, and Ohio EPA, began in 2007 and will continue into 2009. The first phase of the project involved planting trees and shrubs capable of containing, degrading or eliminating metals and other toxins. AK's contractors have completed planning and data collection at Monroe Ditch and will be submitting design reports to US EPA to remove toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, from soil and sediment. Cleanup of the slag processing area at the plant, Monroe Ditch, Dicks Creek floodplain and Dicks Creek will follow to avoid recontamination. AK Steel must prepare and make public documents detailing every aspect of cleanup as part of the lawsuit settlement. Cleaning up Dicks Creek was a key issue in Ohio Citizen Action's good neighbor campaign with AK Steel," Melissa English, Southern Ohio Program Director.

Dicks Creek update, Ak Steel Middletown Works.

Jun 2: $355M SunCoke proposal at issue

MIDDLETOWN -- "Economic development will be the focus of business at Tuesday's Middletown City Council meeting. Among the items to be considered by council will be an emergency ordinance to establish an enterprise zone tax abatement as well as other incentives provided by the State Urban Jobs Program for the Middletown Coke Co. Inc., the operating company for SunCoke Energy of Knoxville, Tenn. SunCoke is planning to build a $355 million heat recovery coke-making and electric generation plant," Ed Richter, Middletown Journal.

May 19: Garden Manor sues city over rezoning for coke plant
Retirement community claims Middletown failed to follow procedure in rezoning approval for site of proposed $340M coke plant

MIDDLETOWN -- "Garden Manor Retirement Village has filed a lawsuit against the city of Middletown, claiming City Council and the planning commission failed to follow proper procedure in approving the rezoning of 157 acres that would be the site of a new $340 million cokemaking and heat recovery plant. The suit filed Tuesday, May 13, in Butler County Common Pleas Court seeks to restrain the city from further action related to the site," Kevin Aldridge, Middletown Journal. Published May 15.

May 8: Economic impact deciding factor in rezoning vote
Employment prospects overcame objections from neighbors

MIDDLETOWN -- "Middletown City Council's decision to rezone 157 acres to industrial use to facilitate the construction of a proposed $340 million coke-making and electric generation plant was described by Councilwoman Anita Scott Jones as 'damned if you do and damned if you don't.' Just before midnight Tuesday, May 6, during a marathon meeting, the council voted 6-0 on an emergency ordinance to confirm a March planning commission decision to approve the rezoning... Many of the opponents, while not against the project, felt the proposed coke plant should be located on AK Steel Corp.'s property. Opponents cited environmental, health, traffic and property devaluation concerns," Ed Richter, Middletown Journal.

May 7: City Council votes unanimously to rezone for coke plant project
Marathon public meeting draws crowd of more than 200

More than 157 acres in the 2nd Ward will be rezoned to make way for a proposed $340 million coke-making and electric generation plant.
MIDDLETOWN -- "Community members prayed for Middletown City Council on the eve of a controversial vote to rezone 157 acres for a proposed $340 million cokemaking and electric generation plant. More than 60 people, mostly Monroe residents and others nearby the possible site off Ohio 4 attended the vigil Monday, May 5, at Truth Tabernacle church to pray for wisdom," Ed Richter, Middletown Journal.

May 6: Residents praying Middletown council demonstrates wisdom in controversial vote
Middletown City Council set to vote tonight on rezoning for proposed $340M plant

Monroe resident and attorney Frank Schiavone said that a coke plant wound be "the lowest and worst use of that land."
MIDDLETOWN -- "Community members prayed for Middletown City Council on the eve of a controversial vote to rezone 157 acres for a proposed $340 million cokemaking and electric generation plant. More than 60 people, mostly Monroe residents and others nearby the possible site off Ohio 4 attended the vigil Monday, May 5, at Truth Tabernacle church to pray for wisdom," Ed Richter, Middletown Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- Attorney files lawsuit to stop land sale for coke plant Ed Richter, Middletown Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- Middletown neighbors fight SunCoke plant, Local 12.

May 5: Coke plant debate rages
Proponents and opponents rally support prior to May 6 meeting

MIDDLETOWN -- "Just days before Middletown City Council votes on the rezoning of 157 acres for a controversial $340 million coke plant, battle lines are being drawn by proponents and opponents of the proposed project... Meanwhile, opponents of the project – many of whom are Monroe homeowners living near the proposed site — also want people to contact Council members to express their concerns about how the plant might affect their health and property values. They are rallying support through their Web site, www.StayInsideTheFence.com, and they are organizing a prayer vigil at 8 p.m. Monday at Truth Tabernacle, 6879 Hamilton-Middletown Road," Ed Richter, Middletown Journal. Published May 2.

Tom Sorrell lights a candle during the Worker's Memorial Day Tribute ceremony for every AK Steel employee who lost their life while working inside the steel mill. (Gary Stelzer)
Apr 29: Community remembers those who've died at AK
Since 1903, 104 Middletown Works workers have been killed on the job at the steel mill

MIDDLETOWN -- "As the 104 names of the Middletown Works union members killed on the job since 1903 were read and a candle lit in honor of each one during a solemn ceremony, Paul Corrill closed his eyes to picture each deceased's loved ones. He envisioned the steelworker and his family. When one of the names James Michael Corrill was quietly called, the portrait looked familiar. Michael Corrill, whose father and three brothers worked in the Middletown steel mill, was killed in the coke plant Oct. 12, 1993," Rick McCrabb, Middletown Journal.

Apr 22: AK Steel first quarter profits up 60 percent

CINCINANTI -- "AK Steel Holding Corp. said Tuesday that its first-quarter profits beat Wall Street estimates, rising 60 percent from a year ago when the integrated steelmaker was in the final three months of a yearlong lockout at its main plant. The steel company reported net income of $101.1 million, or 90 cents a share, for the quarter ended March 31, compared with $62.7 million, or 56 cents a share, a year ago. Results from a year ago included a $15.1 million pretax, non-cash pension charge. Sales totaled $1.79 billion, compared with $1.72 billion a year ago," Terry Kinney, Houston Chronicle.

Apr 15: Pressure mounting on council to approve coke plant zoning change

MIDDLETOWN -- "Middletown City Council cannot consider confirming the city Planning Commission's recommendation to rezone 157 acres from residential to industrial until its May 6 meeting. However, the city has received requests from James Wainscott, president, CEO and chairman of AK Steel Corp., Michael J. Thomson, executive vice president and CEO of SunCoke Energy, and D. Scott Rich, president of Local Lodge 1943 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, that council confirm the commission's recommendation as an emergency measure so that it takes immediate effect upon passage," Ed Richter, Middletown Journal. Published April 13.

Mar 31: Business, labor back proposal to build SunCoke plant
Middletown planners recommend rezoning for Monroe facility

A statue of AK Steel founder George M. Verity stands outside the firm's corporate headquarters in Middletown. (Al Behrman/Associated Press)
MIDDLETOWN -- "A strong showing of support from the Middletown's business and labor union sectors offset a number of vocal Monroe opponents Wednesday at a special meeting of the Middletown Planning Commission. The city building's council chambers were packed Wednesday, March 26, when the commission unanimously voted to recommend the rezoning of 157 acres of land off Ohio 4," Ed Richter, Middletown Journal. Published March 28.

MARIETTA -- AK CEO: Proposed coke plant key to future, Wainscott says proposed coke electricity operation will ensure viability of Middletown works, Ed Richter, Middletown Journal. Published March 28.

MARIETTA -- City obligated to consider the good of many, not just a few, Kevin Aldridge, Western Star. Published March 28.

Mar 27: Rezoning OK'd for coke plant

AK fence sign MIDDLETOWN -- "The first step toward the possible construction of a $340 million state-of-the-art coke-making and electric co-generation plant off Ohio 4 in Middletown's far South End was taken Wednesday night. In a special meeting Wednesday, March 26, more than 100 people packed the chamber to witness the Middletown Planning Commission unanimously voting to approve a city request to rezone 157 acres from low-density residential to industrial use," Ed Richter, Middletown Journal.

Mar 25: Coal plant meeting set
Some Monroe residents fighting factory

MIDDLETOWN -- "A rezoning request that could pave the way for a controversial $300 million coke-making plant will come before a special meeting of the city's planning commission at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Knoxville, Tenn.-based SunCoke Energy has taken an option on a 157-acre site between Ohio 4 and Yankee Road near the Middletown-Monroe city line for the plant that would supply coke and steam-generated electricity to AK Steel's Middletown Works. Coke, or baked coal, is a key ingredient in steel-making," Mike Boyer, Cincinnati Enquirer.

NEW YORK, NY -- Sunoco Board approves long-term agreement to supply coke and electrical power, Newsticker.

CINCINNATI -- AK Steel board OKs SunCoke contract, Business Courier of Cincinnati.

Mar 14: Ohio EPA: Permit for proposed coke oven plant could take months
SunCoke Energy applies for permit on land Middletown wants to rezone to industrial

coke plant location MIDDLETOWN -- "A permit application for a proposed coke oven and a power regeneration plant could take as long as six months to approve by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Heather Lauer, an Ohio EPA spokeswoman, confirmed Thursday, March 13, that Knoxville, Tenn.-based SunCoke Energy submitted an application in February for a permit to install air pollution control equipment," Ed Richter, Middletown Journal.

MIDDLETOWN -- Property owners converge to opppose site of possible $300M coke plant, Middletown Planning Commission tables proposed rezoning of 157 acres off Ohio 4, Ed Richter, Middletown Journal. Published March 13, 2008.

Mar 12: Monroe opposes proposed coke plant site
Decision unanimous to oppose rezoning of property off Ohio 4 in Middletown near Monroe border. Public hearing set for tonight in Middletown.

SunCoke MONROE -- "Opposition is queuing up against the rezoning of 157 acres off Ohio 4 to build a proposed $300 million state of the art coke oven plant, which is set for a public hearing at tonight's Middletown Planning Commission meeting. Monroe City Council unanimously approved a motion in opposition to the city of Middletown's proposed rezoning at its Tuesday, March 11, meeting 'due to the negative impact of the health, property, safety and welfare of the city citizens of the city of Monroe,'" Ed Richter, Oxford Press.

MIDDLETOWN -- Ohio EPA: Proposed plant should cause no health issues, Jessica Lander-Heffner, Middletown Journal.

Mar 10: Neighbors fear effect on health, property

MIDDLETOWN -- "It could be a while before the burners of a proposed $300 million coke oven get fired up in Middletown, but preliminary talk of building such a facility is already producing some heat. Several neighbors of the 157 acres where the state-of-the-art cokemaking and heat recovery plant would be located say they plan to do whatever it takes to keep it from coming there. They worry that a new coke plant would devalue their property and could possibly pose a health threat," Ed Richter, Middletown Journal. Published March 9.

HAVERHILL -- Coke ovens bring noise, dust, growth to hamlet, SunCoke says its process in Scioto County town is environmentally friendly, Ed Richter, Middletown Journal. Published March 9.

Mar 7: State involved in coke plant talks
Potential $300M project would rival top developments across Ohio last year

AK Steel
AK Steel would agree to a long-term commitment to buy the coke and power the new plant would generate.

MIDDLETOWN -- "Butler County played a key role in helping Ohio to rank No. 1 in the nation last year in the number of new plants and corporate operations and expansions. And Middletown is hoping it can help keep the state at the top of the heap again this year. Ohio landed 399 new plants or expansions in 2007, according to Site Selection Magazine, with more than $547 million invested in manufacturing in Butler County alone. City officials are hoping a proposed $300 million cokemaking and heat recovery plant in Middletown can be added to that list, if AK Steel Corp. and SunCoke Energy Inc. reach an agreement," Kevin Aldridge, Oxford Press.

Mar 6: AK Steel says new coke plant would help meet its needs
Company pledges it won't idle its own cokemaking production

proposed site for coke plant
The "state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly" plant is targeted for 157 acres between Ohio 4 and the MADE Industrial Park, near Garden Manor Retirement Village and Amanda Elementary School.

MIDDLETOWN -- "The potential development of a new $300 million coke oven facility just off Ohio 4 shows AK Steel Corp.'s long-term commitment to Middletown, city officials say. News surfaced late Tuesday, March 4, of a potential partnership between AK Steel and Tennessee-based SunCoke Energy that could result in the building of a facility in Middletown that would manufacture metallurgical coke and regenerate steam and heat into electricity. The facility could produce about 50 to 100 jobs, according to Middletown Planning Director Martin Kohler," Kevin Aldridge, Middletown Journal.

Jan 8, 2008: AK Steel proves wise investment
Company finishes 2007 with a 174 percent increase in stock performance, earning accolades

MIDDLETOWN -- "There was a time when investors shied away from steel stocks, seeing the industry as cyclical and many of the companies as troubled. No more, apparently. CNNMoney.com has spotlighted shares of AK Steel Corp. (NYSE: AKS) as one of the 10 best-performing stocks in 2007. 'As demand for steel skyrocketed last year, AK Steel Holding turned in the second-best return to investors a solid 174 percent increase in stock performance,' David Goldman, a CNNMoney.com writer, said in a piece posted on the site late last week," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

Older news

2003: Jan - Jun, Jul - Dec

AK Steel

As of Jul 12, 2004. . .

6,219 neighbors have sent handwritten letters and petitions urging AK Steel CEO James Wainscott to stop PCBs from leaking into Dick's Creek and clean up past contamination.

3,748 neighbors have sent handwritten letters and petitions urging AK Steel CEO James Wainscott to build a fence immediately around Dick's Creek to keep kids safe.

4,967 neighbors have sent handwritten letters and petitions pressing Middletown's Mayor and City Manager to get a safety fence built around Dick's Creek immediately.

24,988 neighbors have sent handwritten letters and petitions urging AK Steel executives and board to cut the pollution pouring out of the Middletown plant