Steel Mills

US Steel Taking Legal Action Against Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Written by Sandy Williams

US Steel Corporation is suing the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for failing to complete the pollution permitting process for the company’s Minntac mining facility in Mt. Iron, Minn. US Steel filed a Mandamus claim which asks a judge to require MPCA to take action on a specific request.

US Steel said it has been seeking renewal of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit since 1992 and several issues related to water usage requirements and water quality standards near the Minntac tailings basin still need to be resolved by the MPCA. US Steel said if the issues are not resolved, it could require the company to “make significant and unnecessary capital investments in Minntac that could put the facility at a competitive disadvantage, threatening the future viability of the operations and the jobs employed at the operation.”

The filing also asks the court to compel MPCA to complete its triennial review process before issuing a new permit for the Minntac tailings basin.

“U. S. Steel has worked cooperatively and successfully with Minnesota’s elected leadership on many issues over the years, but we believe filing a Mandamus claim was our only option in this situation,” said U. S. Steel Minnesota Ore Operations General Manager Larry Sutherland. “We felt compelled to take this course of action to ensure specific issues we’ve raised in the past – and MPCA has acknowledged the need to address – are fully resolved so they can be incorporated into our NPDES permit renewal. We recognize the time and resources MPCA needs to do their jobs effectively, and we agree that matters related to our shared environment should be determined by thorough, thoughtful due diligence and scientific evidence. We believe completion of the specific issues raised in our Mandamus claim will ensure the preservation of the environment and the competitiveness of Minnesota’s iron ore mining industry.”

“U. S. Steel remains firmly committed to our core value of environmental stewardship, and we’ve proven that by investing more than $100 million in environmental activities at Minntac in the last 10 years,” said U. S. Steel General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Vice President – Government Affairs Suzanne Rich Folsom. “Our actions today reflect our desire to continue working with MPCA in pursuit of a common goal: doing what’s right for the environment without causing unnecessary harm to the state’s economy.”

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