Pleas for Cleveland Cliffs Steel Plant Environmental Uplift

Cleveland Cliffs
Cleveland Cliffs Image Source: Chicago Sun Times


Residents and environmental advocates in Northwest Indiana press for pollution reduction at the Cleveland Cliffs steel plant in East Chicago. They call upon the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to update the plant's air permit, emphasizing the need for innovative technologies to curb emissions. Concerns include harmful nitrogen oxide emissions, inadequate monitoring systems, and the operation of deemed unnecessary sinter plants. Advocates also urge a comprehensive analysis of cumulative impacts and environmental justice, highlighting the urgency for a cleaner future, reports Indiana Public Media


In the heart of Northwest Indiana, a clarion call for environmental reform echoes through the air. The Cleveland Cliffs steel plant in East Chicago, formerly known as ArcelorMittal, finds itself at the center of a plea from residents and environmental groups. The spotlight rests on the impending renewal of the plant's air permit, as advocates rally for a departure from the status quo.

Doreen Carey, President of GARD (Gary Advocates for Responsible Development), emphasizes the burden of air pollution borne by both Gary and East Chicago. She urges the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to spearhead change, directing their focus towards reducing emissions from industrial giants like Cleveland Cliffs.

Advocates at the Environmental Law and Policy Center propose tangible solutions. Their recommendations include the installation of burners to mitigate harmful nitrogen oxide emissions, the implementation of advanced monitoring systems, and the cessation of operations at sinter plants, deemed contributors to excessive air pollution.

Elizabeth Palacio, a former furnace operator at the steel plant, sheds light on the repercussions of industrial emissions. Fine dust from facilities like Cleveland Cliffs blankets cars and lawn furniture, painting a somber picture of environmental degradation. Palacio advocates for improvement, acknowledging the plant's economic significance while urging for a higher environmental standard.

The call for change extends beyond immediate environmental concerns. East Chicago residents, grappling with health challenges, seek relief from ailments possibly linked to industrial emissions. Advocates, led by Carey, press IDEM for a cumulative impacts analysis, considering the entirety of pollution in the area, and a transparent environmental justice analysis for public scrutiny.

However, IDEM's stance, focusing on individual permits under the Clean Air Act rules, clashes with advocates' calls for a more holistic evaluation. The tension between regulatory frameworks and community aspirations underscores the complexities of environmental stewardship.


As the residents of Northwest Indiana join hands in the pursuit of a cleaner future, the Cleveland Cliffs steel plant stands as a symbol at the crossroads of progress and environmental responsibility. The plea for an updated air permit, resonating with calls for reduced emissions and technological upgrades, encapsulates a community's collective yearning for positive change. The clash of perspectives between environmental advocates and regulatory authorities underscores the intricate dance between economic interests and the imperative for a sustainable and healthier environment.

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