groups at odds with AK Steel have joined forces Thursday to try to
convince the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take a closer
look at AK Steel's closed-down facilities near Hamilton.
Members of the United Steelworkers of America and the Sierra Club
went to U.S. EPA offices in Cincinnati to ask the agency to
investigate what the groups called "potential public health and
environmental risks" at the AK Steel-owned Superfund site, just
outside of New Miami near Hamilton.
The union and the environmental group say a review of Ohio EPA
and U.S. EPA records performed by environmental consultant Bennett
& Williams concluded that groundwater in the area around AK
Steel's plant near Hamilton may be polluted and could contaminate
well fields that lie within one-half-mile of the facilities.
"Production at the site occurred in an era when environmental
practices and regulations were much less stringent than they are
today, and the possibility of contamination is relatively high," the
groups said in a statement.
Leaders from the steel workers Local 169, which represents
steelworkers in Mansfield, Ohio, were at Thursday's gathering. About
600 of the union members have been locked out of AK Steel's plant in
Mansfield for three years in a bitter labor dispute.
The Ohio Sierra Club is trying to become a party to an
environmental lawsuit against AK Steel.
AK Steel spokesman Alan McCoy called the motives of both groups
"The steelworkers have only one interest, and it has absolutely
nothing to do with the Hamilton plant," he said. "The Sierra Club,
likewise, has an agenda and it istrying to become an intervener in a