Jan 26: Arcelor Mittal shortlisted for anti-green award

CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- "Steel giant Arcelor Mittal's Vanderbijlpark plant has been shortlisted for an infamous international environmental award to be announced alongside the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos this week... The Indian steel giant Arcelor Mittal was nominated for a number of reasons, including that it was not only the largest, but also the filthiest steelworks in South Africa," Eleanor Momberg, Sunday Independent. Published January 24.

Oct 7: Air Quality Improves in NE Ohio

air quality CLEVELAND -- "This past summer the number of days ground-level ozone exceeded the federal standard was near rock bottom:  only 3 the entire summer, compared with 12 last summer and 31 in 2002, which was exceptionally hot.  Ozone, the primary component of smog - is produced when Nitrogen oxides from combustion and fumes from volatile materials like gasoline meet hot, sunny weather.  Cooler days equal less ozone, and this summer was exceptionally cool.  On top of that, the poor economy may have played a role in keeping pollution at bay, says Amy Wainwright of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, which tracks pollution in the region," Bill Rice, WCPN.

The economic downturn also resulted in Cleveland's biggest polluter, Mittal Steel, idling its facility in late October 2008 through September 2009.

Sep 30: Lakshmi Mittal takes the pedal off the metal

Lakshmi Mittal
Lakshmi Mittal, CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steelmaker.

LONDON, England -- "ArcelorMittal, which didn't exist a decade ago, now accounts for 10% of global steel production. That pedal-to-the-metal growth strategy worked until a year ago when the world's economy took a dive. The company, based in Luxembourg, posted three consecutive quarterly losses, the latest at $792 million, and some analysts expect it to post another loss in the current quarter. Still Mr. Mittal says it would have been far worse if the steelmaker didn't shut mills, slash production about 35% and lay off thousands of workers," Robert Guy Matthews, Wall Street Journal.

Sep 22: ArcelorMittal fires up one blast furnace in Cleveland

CLEVELAND -- "ArcelorMittal began firing up the C-5 blast furnace Friday morning, and the steel shop soon resumed operations. Holdford said the sprawling plant in Cleveland's Flats plans to restart the C-6 blast furnace this fall. A union official said he had been told the second furnace would be up and running in October... The results of firing up the first furnace after months of idleness should be apparent to Cleveland residents in the area and to motorists commuting into the city from the south: Plumes of smoke have begun to appear from stacks rising from the plant," Frank Bentayou, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Sep 18: ArcelorMittal to restart C6 blast furnace at Cleveland

CLEVELAND -- "It is reported that ArcelorMittal will restart its C6 blast furnace with 1.5 million short tonnes capacity in its flat products mill in Cleveland. ArcelorMittal claimed that restarting the facility is geared to satisfying customer needs, and they are cautiously optimistic regarding the current market situation. Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal also restarted its hot rolled machine, pickled production line and galvanized line," Steel Guru.

Sep 8: Inhaling a heart attack: How air pollution can cause heart disease

ANN ARBOR, MI -- "It’s well known that measures such as exercise, a healthy diet and not smoking can help reduce high blood pressure, but researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have determined the very air we breathe can be an invisible catalyst to heart disease. Inhaling air pollution over just two hours caused a significant increase in diastolic blood pressure, the lower number on blood pressure readings, according to new U-M research," Shantell Kirkendoll, University of Michigan Health System.

Sep 4: U.S. EPA launches detailed study of Cleveland-area air quality

City of Cleveland's Division of Air Quality technicians Frank Saridakis, left, and George Young work on the top of a new carbon sampler on the deck of their air quality testing facility September 1, 2009, on the corner of Broadway and Orange Avenue. Photo: John Kuntz, Plain Dealer.

CLEVELAND -- "The federal research lab picked Cleveland for its most detailed air-quality investigation to date because of our region's unique geographical position and overall poor air quality. The Cleveland Multiple Air Pollutant study is a follow-up to previous, but less detailed, tests in St. Louis and Dearborn, Mich., EPA officials said. . . A number of features about Northeast Ohio combine to make our air among the worst in the nation. Among those are our own heavy industry and steel mills, our own urban traffic and suburban sprawl and our own coal-fired power plants. But we also get pollution because we are downwind from power plants elsewhere and occupy the midpoint on a highway system that connects New York City and Chicago. . . A key component of the study could help better identify the source of specific pollutants: Technology that can detect the signature of a pollutant -- as compared to known polluters in the region such as industry, power plants and steel mills," Michael Scott, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Aug 13: ArcelorMittal will bring 165 people back to work next week

CLEVELAND -- "ArcelorMittal will bring 165 people back to work next week, but it will still be more than a month before the Cleveland steel plant's blast furnace fires up and starts melting metal again. Plant manager Terry Fedor said Wednesday that the company is still negotiating with the United Steelworkers of America Local 979 to figure out how many workers it needs to bring back. In May, the company put 912 workers on layoff as steel orders plunged 45 percent worldwide," Robert Schoenberger, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Aug 10: ArcelorMittal to bring back hundreds of laid off steelworkers in Cleveland

Steel workers cross the grounds of ArcelorMittal's steel plant in the Flats last December before the steelmaker began laying off workers.

CLEVELAND -- "ArcelorMittal Cleveland said Thursday it is in the process of restarting a blast furnace and other operations at its steel complex near downtown. Some laid-off workers will be back on the job next week. The return to production of the company's C-5 blast furnace, a steel shop, hot mill, pickle line, tandem mill and galvanizing line at the East Side manufacturing and annealing plant is a result of improving market demand, said ArcelorMittal spokeswoman Mary Beth Holdford. Hundreds of employees will return in phases, but ArcelorMittal said some will be back on the job by Monday," Frank Bentayou, Cleveland Plain Dealer. Published August 6.

May 21: Mittal Steel still balking on health and safety worldwide; Liberia neighbors group joins network

luxembourg meeting
Members of Global Action on ArcelorMittal hand out literature at ArcelorMittal's annual shareholders meeting.

LUXEMBOURG -- "Last week neighbors of ArcelorMittal Steel plants and mines worldwide met in Luxembourg and released a new report detailing the company's failure to fix environmental and health and safety problems. The neighbors network, Global Action on ArcelorMittal, includes groups from Bosnia, the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Ukraine, the United States, and new this year, Liberia. Also part of the network is Central and Eastern European Bankwatch Network which includes organizations from 12 countries in the region. The neighbors gave the new report to shareholders attending the company's Annual Meeting and met with ArcelorMittal board member Gonzalo Urquijo," Liz Ilg, Cleveland Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

May 13: ArcelorMittal workers attack headquarters

LUXEMBOURG -- "Steel workers attacked ArcelorMittal's Luxembourg headquarters Tuesday during the company's annual shareholders meeting, setting off smoke bombs and breaking through the front door to protest temporary layoffs during the economic slump. Some of the 1,000 workers from Belgium and France hurled cobblestones and steel fencing at the building, smashing windows and tearing off a steel molding from the ornate 1920s exterior. Riot police lined up to protect the head office of the world's biggest steel maker. One protester broke into the building and was immediately captured by police," Aoife White, Associated Press.

May 12: Slumping economy idles Cleveland steelmaker

Workers collect their last paychecks.

CLEVELAND -- "The global economic slowdown has temporarily shut down Cleveland's Arcelor Mittal Steel Plant. Nine hundred twelve workers were laid off Friday. Many came to the union hall Monday to pick up their last paychecks. These are veteran workers, senior-most survivors who remain on the job after decades of layoffs reduced the plant workforce. Some have worked for J&L Steel, which became Republic Steel then LTV Steel, ISG steel, Mittal Steel and eventually Arcelor Mittal. Laid-off 32 worker Curtis Ferrell said, 'They're talking about layoffs until Christmas. I've ain't never been laid off that long,'" WKYC.

CLEVELAND -- ArcelorMittal shuts plant in Flats, temporarily idling 912 steelworkers, Frank Bentayou, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

May 4: Illinois steelworkers protest plant closing in Chicago

(Kevin Robinson/Chicagoist)

CHICAGO, IL -- "Members of USW Locals 101, 1011 and 7367 held a rally in downtown Chicago Thursday afternoon at the Federal Plaza to demand that ArcelorMittal Steel either reopen their Hennepin, IL finishing plant or allow it to be sold to another company that will. Despite turning a profit of $48 million last year, the global steel giant has idled the Hennepin finishing mill, leaving 300 families downstate unemployed in a county with a 14.1 percent jobless rate. Governor Pat Quinn joined the rally as well, declaring that Illinois needs strong middle class jobs if the state is going to thrive in the economic recovery," Kevin Robinson, Chicagoist. Published May 1.

May 1: Mittal steels himself for slump

LONDON, UK -- "The company has also announced steps to reduce its debts from $26.5bn at the end of last year to $22.5bn by December. Other possibilities - not being considered but that the company has not ruled out - could include efforts to trim the company's plant network. This could be done either by outright closure - an expensive option, given the large sums needed for decommissioning highly capital-intensive steel mills, as well as for paying off workers - or finding buyers for the facilities. If Mr Mittal were to go down this route, he would probably look most seriously at closing high-cost plants in Europe and the US. For instance, plants in Liège in Belgium and Cleveland in the US are both candidates for closure or sale, should Mr Mittal decide on this course of action," Peter Marsh, Financial Times. Published April 27.

Apr 13: Local steel mill’s wait likely long
ArcelorMittal’s Cleveland plant reopening depends on counterparts’ revival, auto industry recovery

One of the two blast furnaces at ArcelorMittal Cleveland, February 2009. Activity at the furnaces was minimal.

CLEVELAND -- "It could be quite some time before Cleveland’s ArcelorMittal steel mill is back on line and at least a portion of its 1,400 workers are called back to work after the plant closes in May. Experts who follow the industry and the plant itself say it’s a matter of simple math. There are many other steel mills shut down around the country — and some of those will need to be reopened and reach nearly their full capacity before there’s a need to reopen the ArcelorMittal mill in Cleveland. 'In the U.S., there are 36 blast furnaces and currently nine of them are operating,' said Richard McLaughlin, senior manager and steel industry specialist for Deloitte Consulting in Pittsburgh and Cleveland," Dan Shingler, Crain's Cleveland Business.

Mar 26: Indiana father's lawsuit targets polluters, including U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal

US Steel

INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- "Ron Kurth, who grew up in Gary, Ind., and worked in the steel mills, raised his family in the region near the outskirts of Chicago. He always wondered about the smoke and smog that overcast the Lake Michigan shoreline. 'It's just a horrible atmosphere,' he said. Kurth, who has a 16-year-old daughter attending school in the Lake County city of Crown Point, decided someone ought to do something about the pollution. On Wednesday, he did. He filed a lawsuit on behalf of his daughter against 11 northwest Indiana industries, including U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal, claiming the air pollution they emit from their smokestacks endangers the long-term health of Lake County children. The lawsuit seeks class action status on behalf of thousands of the county's schoolchildren," Charles Wilson, Associated Press.

Mar 19: Mittal steels himself over financing

LONDON, ENGLAND -- "One banker close to the company said: 'All the signs are that Mr Mittal and his advisers are looking at the various options they could take to raise up to several billion dollars to bring down debts more than they plan at present, should conditions in the steel industry fail to improve.' One potential option might be a rights issue that could raise between $3bn-$5bn. Another could be to sell at least one of the company’s steel plants which might raise a similar sum, although it is highly unlikely to want to sell some of its crown jewels – such as its factory in Vitoria, Brazil. Another alternative might be to sell a strategic stake in the company to an outside business, such as a Chinese state-owned steel company. ArcelorMittal on Tuesday strenuously denied it was contemplating such a step," Peter Marsh, Financial Times.

Mar 16: Ohio activists share strategy on air emissions

Liz Ilg, Ohio Citizen Action
HAMILTON, Ontario -- "In early February Environment Hamilton hosted a visitor from Ohio Citizen Action – an Ohio-based environmental advocacy organization known for its ability to effectively mobilize industrial neighbourhoods to push for industries to clean up their act. Liz Ilg, the organization’s Cleveland-based ArcelorMittal campaigner was in Hamilton to meet with EH staff and area residents who have been working to see Hamilton’s ArcelorMittal (Dofasco) plant, along with other local industries, address on-going industrial emission problems. Liz shared some of the strategies utilized as part of Ohio Citizen Action’s trademark approach of developing and implementing what the organization calls ‘Good Neighbour Campaigns,'" Environment Hamilton.

Mar 6: ArcelorMittal Cleveland closes mill and finishing plant; 990 steelworkers lose jobs

Steelworkers cross the grounds of ArcelorMittal's steel plant in the Flats in December. (Thomas Ondrey/The Plain Dealer)

CLEVELAND -- "ArcelorMittal Cleveland said today that it was halting operations at the mill and finishing plant in Cleveland's Flats, ending jobs for about 990 steelworkers and leaving the fates of about 200 salaried employees uncertain. The plant, which employed about 1,800 members of United Steelworkers of America Local 979 as recently as last summer, now will have just 250 employees providing basic fire watch and maintaining the water treatment, boiler and environmental systems, according to a written statement from the facility's spokeswoman," Frank Bentayou, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Feb 27: ArcelorMittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal sees hope for steel orders despite gloomy numbers

Lakshmi MittalCLEVELAND -- "Steel production probably will fall as far as it's going to by the end of March, the head of ArcelorMittal believes. If so, orders could begin to increase later this year at ArcelorMittal Cleveland and plants worldwide. Since September, the industry has suffered the most rapid downturn in demand anyone can remember. 'We think we will reach the bottom of the cycle in first quarter 2009,' Lakshmi Mittal, ArcelorMittal's chairman and chief executive officer, told investors in a webcast following the recent release of the Luxembourg-based company's fourth-quarter 2008 earnings report," Frank Bentayou, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Feb 23: Cleveland steel plant's furnaces to remain idle

CLEVELAND -- "An Ohio steel plant where hundreds of workers were recently laid off when the facility's two blast furnaces were idled won't resume producing steel for at least another three months, a company official said. ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, will shift about 100 of the plant's 300 salaried employees to plants in West Virginia and Indiana by early March, said Terry Fedor, the company's local general manager. The temporary assignments should last from three to six months. The Cleveland plant has been idle since October, when the Luxembourg-based company ordered a temporary shut down because of the slumping steel business. About 450 hourly workers have been laid off since then," Associated Press. Published February 21.

CLEVELAND -- "During the idle at the Mittal Steel Cleveland Works facility, neighbors and workers will be breathing in millions of pounds fewer of pollutants like fine particles, manganese, and sulfur dioxide. Already neighbors have noticed a lack of rotten egg odors, night-time noises, and build up of soot at their homes... The current break in production and pollution is an opportunity to discuss how to establish a working relationship between Mittal Steel managers and its neighbors. Ohio Citizen Action and Neighbors of Mittal Steel have decided to suspend our good neighbor campaign during the period while the mill is idled," Letter to ArcelorMittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal, Liz Ilg, Cleveland Area Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Mittal Steel news from Jul-Dec 2008, Jan-Jun 2008, Jul-Dec 2007, Jan-Jun 2007Jul-Dec 2006Jan-Jun 2006, Jul-Dec 2005, Jan - Jun 20052004

Liz Ilg
Ohio Citizen Action
(216) 861-5200

49,718 neighbors have sent handwritten letters, postcards, slips, and petitions urging Cleveland Works management to be good neighbors as of December 16, 2008. 
Of these,
37,808 have been written since Mittal Steel took over in 2005.

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