July 19, 2010-by Gitte Laasby, in the Post Tribune. According to an IDEM inspection report this spring, the pile is 900 feet long and 67 feet tall. It contains slag and 274,000 cubic yards of basic oxygen furnace sludge and rubble interspersed with burned lime. The pile sits a couple of hundred feet from Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Nearby are tall piles of rubble.
ndiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Thomas Easterly is getting fed up with media reports and activists’ complaints about how his agency handles environmental issues in Northwest Indiana.
In a recent letter to IDEM employees, Easterly voiced his disgruntlement with activists’ challenges of BP Whiting’s air permit, and delays in issuing U.S. Steel Gary Works’ wastewater permit.
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Thomas Easterly, IDEM Commissioner
(Post-Tribune file photo)
He also denied the existence of a pile of steelmaking waste that representatives at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor named after him.
“Recent stories about recycling, materials management, and waste management at Arcelor Mittal Burns Harbor … have even named a non-existent feature after me,” Easterly wrote in the June 3 memo obtained by the Post-Tribune. “Recent observations by a State Legislator and IDEM staff, including Chief of Staff (Kent) Abernathy, confirm my recollection from 10 years ago that the area called a ‘pile’ by the press is actually a depression partially filled with stockpiled materials for recycling to make steel.”
Valparaiso lawyer Kim Ferraro, of the Legal Environmental Aid Foundation of Indiana, said the definition of the area is a matter of semantics.
“Whether it’s a depressed area or level ground doesn’t matter. It’s full of stockpiled materials. It doesn’t make a difference,” she said. “There are definitely wastes sitting out there next to Lake Michigan, and IDEM has documented it in their own inspection reports.” (MORE)
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