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The city of Chicago plans to sue US Steel for alleged violations of federal law after the company released more than the permitted daily amount of chromium into Lake Michigan in October and April, according to city officials.
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Sunday that the city will file the notice of intent to sue US Steel for violations of the federal Clean Water Act on Monday, the first step required before a lawsuit can be filed 60 days later under that act.
The notice from the city of Chicago will follow an earlier notice of intent to sue US Steel sent on November 13 by the Surfrider Foundation, represented by the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago.
The clinic has previously released documents showing a US Steel facility in Portage, Indiana released 56.7lbs (25.7kg) of chromium into Lake Michigan on October 25 after its wastewater treatment system malfunctioned, according to the The Associated Press – nearly double the 30lbs permitted. On April 10 and 11 a discharge of almost 350lbs of chromium from the same plant into a waterway leading into Lake Michigan spurred the closure of public beaches and public drinking water intakes, according to local media.
“This is not once, it’s twice, and in the last instance they did not notify [the Environmental Protection Agency], which they’re required to do,” Mr Emanuel said at a press conference on Sunday.
Mr Emanuel also called out the federal EPA and President Donald Trump: “I don’t think it’s an accident that US Steel didn’t report it to the Trump EPA. They know exactly the attitude of the EPA under Donald Trump is that they can get away with it, they’re not going to be policed”.