July 6, 2008

How has Mittal Steel faced up to
its pollution problems in Cleveland?

A chronology

Liz Ilg, Cleveland Area Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action

"We are visionary thinkers, creating opportunities every day."
-- ArcelorMittal statement of corporate philosophy

  • April 2005 - Neighbors of the Cleveland Works send personal invitations to Lakshmi Mittal and Mittal Steel USA CEO Louis Schorsch to come to Cleveland to meet with them. Mr. Mittal and Louis Schorsch did not respond.

  • June 2005 - Claire Ryder, an Ohio Citizen Action volunteer, hand delivers 458 drinking straws to Mr. Mittal’s London headquarters. Messages on the straws read: “‘Dear Mr. Mittal, Please breathe through this straw for 60 seconds to see what it is like to have asthma. Pollutants from the Mittal Cleveland Works aggravate asthma for the 390,000 residents who live within five miles of the plant. Did you know that this plant’s emissions of sulfur dioxide and small particulates, which can trigger asthma, increased by 38% from 2003 to 2004? It’s time for you to invest in modernizing the Cleveland Works Plant to prevent pollution.” Mr. Mittal did not respond.
    The package also included a letter from Tremont community leaders inviting Lakshmi Mittal to meet with them. None of the Tremont leaders ever heard back from Mr. Mittal.

  • April 2006 - Tremont neighbor Becca Riker asks Mittal attorney David Nash whether the steel mill would invest in a $40,000 real-time air monitor for the neighborhood. Mr. Nash replied that neither he nor Mr. Glazer, Mittal’s public relations manager (who was also present), had the authority to spend $40,000. When asked who did have that authority, he replied, “Mr. Mittal.”

  • Summer 2006 - Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director of Ohio Citizen Action, mails a copy of the organization’s Good Neighbor Campaign Handbook to Mr. Mittal inviting him to meet. Mr. Mittal did not respond.

  • September 2006 - Cleveland neighbors send personal letters to Mr. Mittal and drawings from Cleveland-area schoolchildren. Mr. Mittal has never replied.

  • January 2007 – Liz Ilg, Cleveland Program Director of Ohio Citizen Action, writes Lakshmi Mittal after the release of a report on Mittal Steel Cleveland inviting him to meet. She also calls Mittal’s Plant Manager Terry Fedor inviting him to meet with his Cleveland neighbors. Terry Fedor’s secretary has a message waiting for Liz from Charles Glazer that “the company is aware of the neighborhood concerns.”

  • February 2007 – Liz Ilg invites Terry Fedor to meet with Cleveland area neighbors after hydrogen sulfide, a byproduct of steelmaking, is found from air testing in a child’s bedroom. Mr. Fedor did not respond.

  • March 2007 – Terry Fedor writes back to doctors and nurses who have written to him urging immediate attention to pollution prevention. Mr. Fedor says that “a myopic focus on the Mittal Steel facility will not solve the pollution problems for its neighbors.”

  • March 2007 – Mittal Steel neighbors visit Terry Fedor’s Cleveland office five times inviting him to meet. The group brought with them a Good Neighbor Campaign Handbook, chocolates, and flowers for Mr. Fedor, as well as 681 drinking straws, a bag of asthma inhalers and two boxes full of plastic containers used in breathing machines by children on Independence Road. Mr. Fedor did not respond.

  • April 2007 - Mittal Steel’s Cleveland neighbors call Cleveland Plant Manager Terry Fedor and US CEO Michael Rippey inviting them to meet. Mr. Fedor and Mr. Rippey did not respond.

  • August 2007 – Ina Roth, Mittal’s neighbor in Old Brooklyn, invites Terry Fedor to meet and sends him letters from Cleveland area doctors and nurses, bringing the total to 317 Cleveland area doctors and nurses who have written Mr. Fedor. Mr. Fedor did not respond.

  • August 2007 – Liz Ilg invites Lakshmi Mittal to visit Cleveland after his visit to his facility in Hamilton, Canada. Mr. Mittal did not respond.

  • December 2007 – Chris Garland, Executive Director at Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood development corporation, sends invitations to Terry Fedor, Sandy Buchanan, and Liz Ilg to sit down and meet. He also invited Cleveland Mediation to join the group. Terry Fedor said he would meet with Chris Garland only.

  • January 2008 – Matt Carroll, head of Cleveland’s Department of Public Health, invites Terry Fedor to meet with him and other Cleveland area doctors. Terry Fedor declines the meeting.

  • February 2008 - Panel chair Kim Foreman delivers transcripts from a public hearing on Mittal Steel and our health in November 2007 to Terry Fedor at his Cleveland office. In a cover letter members of the panel state, ‘One hundred Cleveland area neighbors gathered at Cuyahoga Community College to hear testimony on pollution problems from Mittal Steel and speak their mind on the topic. Neighbors of your facility testified on the problems they experience from your facility such as rotten egg odors and soot... We urge you to sit down with your neighbors to begin talking about what you can do to prevent pollution from the Mittal Steel Cleveland Works," Kim Foreman, Dr. Anne Wise and Dr. Dan Brustein. Terry Fedor did not respond.

  • May 2008 – A sergeant at Mittal Steel Cleveland tells neighbor Donna Levandowski she is no longer allowed to call Mittal Steel at their gates when noises from the steel mill wake her up during the night. She is instructed to only call the good neighbor hotline, leave a message, and wait for someone to call her back on the following business day.

  • As of May 27, 2008, 34,920 Cleveland area neighbors have sent Mittal Steel handwritten letters, postcards, and petitions urging the managers to turn the company’s attention to pollution prevention. In addition, 526 Cleveland area doctors and nurses have written to Terry Fedor.