The Russian-owned Severstal Dearborn steel plant is already a major polluter, with residential neighbors complaining about ash-like fallout and an unbearable smell coming from the factory. However, Severstal and Michigan's Department of Environment Quality would like to modify permits to allow them to pollute even more.
Detroit Free Press: The changes, revising a 2006 emissions permit, would approve releasing more than 725 times more lead into the air from one portion of Severstal’s plant.
Permitted lead releases from other Severstal operations would also increase hundreds of times over, as would releases of the metal manganese.
The permit change would also allow Severstal to double carbon monoxide emissions and increase fine dust emissions by two-to-five times what their current permit, issued in 2006, allows.
According to the EPA's toxicity measurement, the highly industrial area surrounding the plant is 45 time more polluted than the statewide average.
Why is the DEQ on board with this idea? Turns out Severstal is probably already polluting this much anyway, so why not make it official?
But DEQ and Severstal officials say it’s not an increase in pollutants — it’s what’s already been spewing from the plant for years.
Severstal’s 2006 emissions permit was based on data that was “limited, incomplete and, as the current emissions test data have revealed, not as representative of Severstal’s operations as anticipated,” the DEQ states in public documents seeking the permit revision.
Worst. Department of Environmental Quality. Ever.