For several years, AK Steel Corporation’s Dearborn, MI, facility had been one of Michigan’s most persistent polluters. Despite being subject to an old U.S. EPA enforcement order, the sprawling steel mill remained out of compliance with its permit limits for lead, manganese, and particulate matter, spewing the pollutants into a nearby elementary school. Teachers reported having to wipe soot off of tables, windowsills, and walls inside their classrooms. To stop this unlawful air pollution, NELC teamed up with the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center to served AK Steel with a Notice of Violation and Intent to Sue in 2021.
Shortly thereafter, we joined ongoing negotiations between the company, U.S. EPA, and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. These negotiations resulted in a binding commitment from AK Steel to to update and expand its air pollution control system to fully capture airborne lead and other pollutants, and to fund a program to distribute high quality air purification systems to over 1100 homes in the Dearborn neighborhood surrounding the plant.