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Groups ask EPA to probe AK Steel

By Roy Wood
Post staff reporter

Two 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 into question.

"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 lawsuit."


Publication Date: 09-13-2002
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