Steel Products

State Senator Touts Western Pa. for New USS, Nucor Sheet Mills

Written by Michael Cowden

A Pennsylvania state senator wants the Keystone State’s governor to work with him to land Nucor and U.S. Steel’s new, multibillion-dollar sheet mills in the western part of the state.

Sen. Joe Pittman, a Republican, wants to meet with Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, in hopes of attracting the electric arc furnace (EAF) mill projects – worth a combined $5.7 billion – to either Armstrong County or Indiana County.

EAF Sparks“Securing these projects … would go a very long way in replacing family-sustaining wages and property taxes,” Sen. Pittman wrote in a letter addressed to Gov. Wolf earlier this week.

“We should work together in a bipartisan fashion to bring generational economic opportunities to these counties. I am ready and willing to support efforts to make these projects a reality,” he added.

Armstrong and Indiana counties – along with parts of Butler and Westmoreland counties – comprise Senate District 41, which Pittman represents.

Pennsylvania state politics, mirroring national politics in the U.S., have been marked by bitter partisanship. Case in point: Pittman, while seeking Wolf’s support, also said luring Nucor to western Pennsylvania and enticing U.S. Steel to invest more in the region was necessary because of the “economic devastation” caused by the state’s entrance into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The RGGI, espoused by Gov. Wolf, is a cap-and-trade enterprise among nearly a dozen Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Pennsylvania has joined the initiative in hopes of reducing emissions and meeting climate goals, according to a statement from Gov. Wolf earlier this month.

Where Will the New Mills Go?

Nucor has said it is considering three states – Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia – for its $2.7 billion steel mill, which is slated to enter production in 2024 and to have capacity of three million tons per year. Both Ohio and West Virginia share borders with western Pennsylvania.

The Charlotte, N.C-based steelmaker did not respond to questions about whether it was considering any specific locations in Pennsylvania.

U.S. Steel has not made public a short list of states for its $3 billion, three-million-tpy mill, which is also expected to start in 2024. The company has said potential locations include areas where it already has EAFs – an apparent reference to Big River Steel in Osceola, Ark., and its Fairfield Works in Alabama. The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker has also said greenfield sites are being considered.

The company has in addition said that an “endless caster” initially slated for its Mon Valley Works near Pittsburgh was being relocated in part over concerns about carbon emissions. Integrated mills, which rely on the carbon-intensive coking coal process, typically have higher CO2 emissions than newer EAF mills.

It is possible to operate the endless caster in tandem with EAFs. Italian steelmaker Arvedi, for example, operates a flat-rolled EAF mill that employs an “endless strip production” (ESP) technology “ideal” for installation in the minimills, according to equipment supplier Primetals Technologies. And Primetals said in 2019 that it had agreed to supply U.S. Steel with similar equipment for Mon Valley at what was intended to be the first ESP in the U.S. and the widest ESP ever built.

U.S. Steel declined to say where the new mill might be built. “Any announcement on site selection will come from U.S. Steel. We do not comment on speculation,” a company spokesperson said.

Gov. Wolf’s office did not respond to inquiries about whether the governor had met with Sen. Pittman or about whether his office had met with Nucor or U.S. Steel.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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