Chicago plans to sue U.S. Steel over toxins spilled into Lake Michigan

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Nov. 19, 2017 that the city plans to take action against U.S. Steel for discharging toxins into Lake Michigan. (WLS)

The city of Chicago plans to sue U.S. Steel for violating the Clean Water Act related to recent discharges of pollutants into Lake Michigan from their Portage, Ind., facility.

The city will send a notice of intent to sue on Monday, which Mayor Rahm Emanuel said is the first step toward a lawsuit.

"They are acting like they are not having a police officer on the beat to police their action," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during a Sunday press conference. "They made a conscious decision not to report it and the EPA, under Donald Trump, this is a wake-up call."

City officials said they were not immediately notified about the chromium spill in October. In April, nearly 300 pounds of hexavalent chromium spilled into a waterway that goes into Lake Michigan.

Chromium is known to cause cancer, in addition, it targets the respirator system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes.

Although testing did not show elevated levels of pollutants in the lake, city officials are fearful of future spills.

In response, U.S. Steel issued a statement:

"U. S. Steel is committed to complying with all environmental standards, to ensuring the safety of our employees and our neighbors in the communities in which we live and operate, and to safeguarding our shared environment. We take that responsibility very seriously and recognize this as a critical aspect of our role as a member of each community in which we operate. We also take every incident seriously. We have worked with appropriate government agencies in the past as effectively as possible and continue those efforts as part of our work to continuously improve our environmental compliance processes.

"With regard to the October 26 operating excursion at our Midwest Plant, we want to reiterate the event did not pose any danger to water supply or human health, and we promptly communicated the issue to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).

"U. S. Steel issued numerous statements related to the April incident at our Midwest Plant in Portage, Ind. Those statements are available in the Newsroom area of our website: https://www.ussteel.com/newsroom."

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businesslake michiganenvironmentenvironmental protection agencyrahm emanuellawsuitChicagoPortageIndiana
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