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EPA disputes air permit for Nucor’s La. facility

Mar 24, 2014 | 05:46 PM |

Tags  steel, Nucor, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, pig iron, direct-reduced iron, DRI, Clean Air Act Gina McCarthy

NEW YORK — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has pushed back against operating permits issued by Louisiana’s state environmental body for Nucor Corp.’s pig iron and direct-reduced iron (DRI) facility, alleging that certain clauses fail to comply with the Clean Air Act.

The notice, published in the March 21 Federal Register from an order signed by EPA administrator Gina McCarthy at the end of January, said the EPA was partially granting and partially denying three petitions dated June 25, 2010, May 3, 2011, and Oct. 3, 2012.

The Louisiana Environmental Action Network and the Sierra Club alleged in the petitions that the operating permit issued by the Louisiana Department for Environmental Quality (DEQ) for Nucor’s pig iron and DRI facility in St. James Parish failed to meet certain technology standards and that some of its support analysis was flawed.

The EPA denied most of the claims, but did side with the petitioners in certain areas, including the need to specify certain limits on emissions for particulate matter under 2.5 microns for the DRI facility as well as how monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting in parts of the permit are adequate to assure compliance with the numeric emission limits in the permit.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor could not be reached for comment.

A spokesman for the Louisiana DEQ told AMM that the state agency was working on a response prior to the April 30 deadline.

Nucor told investors in the fall that the EPA was satisfied with its environmental permits following a dismissal of a lawsuit by the U.S. Court of Appeals, which said that it lacked jurisdiction (, Sept. 20).

Nucor made its first shipment of DRI from its 2.5-million-ton-per-year facility on Dec. 29 after a storage dome delayed start-up plans (, Dec. 31).

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