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Steel News April 11, 2024 04:15:38 PM

Local Activists Celebrate Plans to Cut Middletown Steel Mill Emissions

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
For Ballinger, fighting endless sinus infections and other illnesses has plagued her life. She said the noise and pollution has made living in her hometown unbearable.

Local Activists Celebrate Plans to Cut Middletown Steel Mill Emissions

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The Cleveland-Cliffs steel mill for years has emitted air pollution and planet-warming emissions in Middletown.

Now, boosted by up to $575 million in federal money, the former AK Steel mill is embarking on a plan to cut emissions by 14 million metric tons per year.

The news is a breath of fresh air for those who have advocated for years for such a change.

Donna Ballinger, a life-long resident of Middletown, has been fighting for nearly eight years alongside clean-air activist, Marilyn Wall, to address the environmental and health impacts of the steel mill.

“They could make it better for people to breathe and not have infections or COPD or lung cancer or whatever it may be. If that's going to be a better solution for them to do this, then that's better for everyone,” Ballinger said.

Ballinger spent years going door to door in her community as well as filing complaints with area agencies about the health impacts she and many others had experienced.

For Ballinger, fighting endless sinus infections and other illnesses has plagued her life. She said the noise and pollution has made living in her hometown unbearable.

Wall says the noise pollution and slag, a byproduct of smelting ores and recycled metals, is an assault to community members.

“The sooner they build it, the better for everybody," Wall said.

Operating with a coal-based system since 1901, the mill will invest in electric furnaces fueled with hydrogen power. The two new electric furnaces will be the largest of their kind in the world.

Hilary Lewis, a steel expert with Industrious Labs, who is familiar with these types of projects, said the mill will not just produce a greener product, it will reduce both climate and health-harming pollution.

The mill reports that this new system also saves Cleveland-Cliffs about $150 per ton of liquid steel.

Courtesy: www.wyso.org

 

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