Letter to Ms. Mary Gade, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5
Durbin, Obama, Emanuel Call for Public Hearing on IDEM Permit for US Steel
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) today sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 Administrator, Mary Gade calling for a public hearing on the Indiana Department of Environmental Management wastewater permit for U.S. Steel Gary Works that was recently rejected by the EPA.
"In [a public hearing], the EPA can explain its objection to the IDEM action and consider the concerns of regional stakeholders. Options can be discussed, in a fully open way that would best meet U.S. Steel's business needs without threatening the Lake with increased levels of pollution," the Illinois members wrote. "We urge you to work toward resolving the U.S. Steel Gary Works wastewater permit issue in a way that actively engages all interested parties through a public hearing."
Last week, Durbin and Emanuel sent four letters regarding the proposed IDEM permit. In a letter to the EPA Administrator, Stephen Johnson, both Illinois members commended EPA for rejecting the proposed IDEM permit and urged them to review all proposed permits in order to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act. Further, in their letter to the EPA Region 5 Administrator, Mary Gade, Durbin and Emanuel questioned U.S. Steel's compliance with the Clean Water Act.
In their letter to the Governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, Durbin and Emanuel stressed that economic development and protecting the Great Lakes can and should go hand in hand. Finally, in a letter to the Chairman and CEO of U.S. Steel Corporation, John Surma, signed by Durbin, Obama, Emanuel and several members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation, they asked for a meeting to discuss the company's decision to seek a permit that threatens water quality in Lake Michigan.
The text of the letter appears below:
October 17, 2007
Ms. Mary Gade
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
Dear Administrator Gade:
As we expressed to you on October 12, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's proposed wastewater permit for US Steel Corporation's Gary Works facility in Gary, Indiana, would have disturbing consequences for the health of Lake Michigan and the nation's commitment to the Clean Water Act. Under the spotlight of public attention, a U.S. Steel spokesman yesterday said that the company wants to work with the EPA on resolving this issue.
With that in mind, our belief is that the best way forward would include a public hearing held by the EPA. In such a forum, the EPA can explain its objection to the IDEM action and consider the concerns of regional stakeholders. Options can be discussed, in a fully open way, that would best meet U.S. Steel's business needs without threatening the lake with increased levels of pollution.
We urge you to work toward resolving the U.S. Steel Gary Works wastewater permit issue in a way that actively engages all interested parties through a public hearing.
Richard J. Durbin
Member of Congress