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PR Newswire

Title:   AK Steel Says Federal Judge Bars State of Ohio From Pursuing Air Pollution Claims
 
Summary:     MIDDLETOWN, Ohio, Nov 9, 2001 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) said today that a federal judge has barred the State of Ohio from attempting to prosecute its "air nuisance" pollution claims against the company in federal district court.

Source:  PR Newswire
Date:  11/09/2001 16:25
Price:  Free
Document Size:  Short (1 or 2 pages)
Document ID:  FC20011109900000118
Subject(s):  PRN; Air Pollution; Alaska; Automotive; Construction; Electrical; Environmental Protection Agency; Federal; Government; Kentucky; Lawsuit; Manufacturing; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Pollution; President; Products; Steel
Document Type:  Press releases
 

 
 
 
PR Newswire
AK Steel Says Federal Judge Bars State of Ohio From Pursuing Air Pollution Claims

Story Filed: Friday, November 09, 2001 4:25 PM EST

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio, Nov 9, 2001 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) said today that a federal judge has barred the State of Ohio from attempting to prosecute its "air nuisance" pollution claims against the company in federal district court.

Judge Herman J. Weber of the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, ordered yesterday that the State of Ohio's three "air nuisance" claims against AK Steel be severed from the state's conditionally filed amended complaint (CFAC). Judge Weber then ordered those three claims stayed.

The State of Ohio seeks to intervene with its CFAC as a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit filed against AK Steel by the United States on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on June 29, 2000. The judge's order, which was effective Thursday, prohibits the state from attempting to prosecute its first, fourth and seventh CFAC claims. As a result of a state court ruling in July in AK Steel's favor, four other of the state's air pollution claims will be dismissed.

Judge Weber dismissed with prejudice the federal government's similar "air nuisance" claim against AK Steel September 27, 2001. That ruling bars the federal government from prosecuting or re-filing that claim.

Still pending in the "air nuisance" case is AK Steel's motion for a preliminary injunction against the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA). That motion, filed Monday in federal court in Cincinnati, seeks to prevent OEPA from usurping the jurisdiction of the federal court in the "air nuisance" claims by way of a so-called "unilateral administrative order" the director issued to AK Steel October 17, 2001.

The order alleges that the Middletown Work's ironmaking and steelmaking furnaces are causing a "public nuisance," allegedly revokes the company's regulatory exemption for its furnaces and orders AK Steel to submit a control plan for its furnaces. AK Steel intends to appeal that administrative order.

Although the OEPA announced the "unilateral" action by way of a news release dated October 17, the actual order did not reach AK Steel until October 22. The news release acknowledged that the order was intended to fix OEPA's own "procedural deficiencies" in previously attempting to revoke AK Steel's regulatory exemption by way of two Notice of Violation (NOV) letters, issued in 1997 and 2000.

In 2000, OEPA then for the first time claimed that those two letters were final actions of the director. However Butler County (OH) Common Pleas Judge William J. Stapleton ruled on July 27, 2001 that they were not final actions. Since Judge Stapleton's ruling, OEPA has referred to the letters as "warning letters."

"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.

AK Steel said that unless restrained, the director of OEPA will arbitrarily adjudicate the very claims he has sought to bring through the State of Ohio's conditionally filed amended complaint, thereby sidestepping the authority of the federal court. Such a move would irreparably harm AK Steel and trample its constitutional rights to due process. In addition, AK Steel said, nothing would prevent the director of OEPA from issuing a flurry of new unilateral orders to circumvent the court's jurisdiction in the other conditional claims the state has pending before the federal court.

While AK Steel was not granted the temporary injunctive relief it filed for on Monday, the federal court's order Thursday severing and staying the State of Ohio's prosecution of its "air nuisance" claims in federal court served the same purpose.

AK Steel argued in federal court Thursday that it should not be forced to litigate the "air nuisance" issue simultaneously in two separate venues (Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission and federal court). Thus the ruling Thursday represents a decisive victory for the steel company, according to company officials, since all seven of Ohio's air pollution claims in federal court against AK Steel are now moot.

With headquarters in Middletown, Ohio, AK Steel produces flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products for automotive, appliance, construction and manufacturing markets, as well as standard pipe and tubular steel products. The company has about 11,500 employees in plants and offices in Middletown, Coshocton, Mansfield, Walbridge, Warren and Zanesville, Ohio; Ashland, Ky.; Rockport, Ind.; and Butler, Sharon and Wheatland, Pa.

SOURCE AK Steel Corporation

CONTACT:          Alan H. McCoy, Vice President, Public Affairs, of AK Steel,
                  +1-513-425-2826

URL:              
http://www.aksteel.com/

http://www.prnewswire.com/

Copyright (C) 2001 PR Newswire. All rights reserved.


KEYWORD: Ohio

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: MNG EDU

Copyright © 2001, PR Newswire, all rights reserved.

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