Last April’s hexavalent chromium spill at U.S. Steel’s Portage, Indiana facility has prompted possible legal action against the U.S. Steel Corporation. The Surfrider Foundation, represented by the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago, has sent a ‘Notice of Intent to Sue’ to the U.S. Steel Corporation for repeated and ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act at U.S Steel’s Portage, Indiana facility. The April spill is just one of several violations by the U.S. Steel facility in recent years, including prior chromium and hexavalent chromium spills, among others.
Earlier this year, U.S. Steel’s Portage facility illegally spilled almost 350 pounds of chromium – almost 300 pounds of which were the highly toxic and carcinogenic hexavalent chromium—into Burns Waterway adjacent to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Reports relay that poorly maintained infrastructure is to blame for the spill. As a result, beaches and drinking water intakes were closed as a precaution.
The Clean Water Act encourages citizens and citizen groups to take enforcement actions to supplement state and federal agencies that may not have the resources necessary to do the job. Save the Dunes supports the Surfrider Foundation’s intent to sue U.S. Steel under the Clean Water Act. The Act requires citizens to provide a 60-day advanced notice to the polluter and the government before citizens can file their suit.
“We support the Surfrider Foundation as it stands to hold U.S. Steel accountable for its actions,” said Natalie Johnson, Executive Director of Save the Dunes. “By holding polluters accountable, we improve the health of our Lake Michigan, protect our drinking water, and enhance our quality of life.”