NEW YORK A
federal appellate court has dismissed attempts by the Louisiana
Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) designed to force
the US Environmental Protection Agency to make a final ruling
on environmental permits for Nucors direct-reduced iron
(DRI) facility in Louisiana. The court said it lacked subject
matter jurisdiction but did not determine whether LDEQ and
Nucor may pursue other avenues of judicial review such as
action in district court.
The ruling does not significantly change the situation for
Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor and its DRI facility, but as a
result there remains uncertainty and the theoretical
possibility that the EPA could vacate the permits, even as the
plant prepares to start production.
The LDEQ and Nucor were seeking to remove that
Theres a plant sitting out there ready to go to
production in September, and the EPA is still sitting there
saying we reserve the right to disapprove this
permit, David R. Taggart, a partner at Bradley
Murchison Kelly & Shea LLC in Shreveport, La., and
Nucors legal counsel, told AMM.
The LDEQ issued three permits for iron making facilities at
Nucors Louisiana site, beginning in 2010. Under Title V
of the Clean Air Act, the EPA has the right to review title V
permits and can object to the issuance of the permit if it
is deemed not to be in compliance with applicable requirements
of the legislation. The EPA filed an objection to the three
permits issued to Nucor, but not until March 2012. The LDEQ and
Nucor claim that the objection was improper and
sought for the objection to be vacated.
Editors note: An earlier version of this story that
appeared on amm.com may have suggested that the court ruling
placed new obstacles before Nucor and that it cast doubts over
the future of the plant. For clarification, no new hurdles
resulted from the court's decision. In dismissing the case, the
status quo has been preserved and Nucor and LDEQ continue to
await a decision.