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EPA satisfied with DRI facility permits: Nucor

Keywords: Tags  Nucor, direct-reduced iron, EPA, environmental permits, Appeals Court, David R. Taggart

NEW YORK — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is satisfied with Nucor Corp.’s environmental permits for its direct-reduced iron (DRI) facility in Louisiana, the company stressed in a note to investors this week.

The clarification follows the dismissal of a lawsuit by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which said it lacked jurisdiction. The suit, brought by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) against the EPA, sought to have an objection to the permits vacated by the court. Nucor was granted intervener status in the case.

LDEQ and Nucor argued that the “objection” issued by the EPA was an objection only in name as it failed to “revoke, modify or terminate” the permit as required by the Clean Air Act.

Nucor said in its note to investors that during the hearing in the case, the EPA said it had no issue with the permits and no challenge to them. A recording of the oral arguments details that when asked by a judge, “What issues remain open as pertains to this litigation?” counsel for the Department of Justice (DOJ), which represented the EPA, said, “We do not believe there are any.” Despite this, however, the EPA has not withdrawn its objection, a fact also noted by the court: “But it is still open...,” one of the three judges said.

Although the appeals court ruled it did not have jurisdiction, the court was nonetheless scathing of the EPA during the hearing.

“Go back to your people and say ‘get this done,’” another of the judges told the DOJ counsel.

During the hearing, Nucor counsel David R. Taggart, a partner at Bradley Murchison Kelly & Shea LLC in Shreveport, La, told the court that it was looking for the objection to be vacated, to which a judge asked, “And what would the result (of that) be?”

“The result (would be) that our permit is not in jeopardy,” the attorney said.

In its note to investors, Nucor said the LDEQ/EPA litigation is about overall EPA procedural issues that are not specific to its Louisiana air permits.

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