Wednesday, May 14, 2008

ArcelorMittal under fire as activists demand clean-up

200 people marched to protest Mittal Steel pollution in Vanderbijlpark.
CAPETOWN, South Africa -- "A coalition of activists targeted ArcelorMittal at its annual general meeting in Luxembourg yesterday, to mark the start of a campaign that aims to mould the world's biggest steel maker into a more responsible global corporate citizen. The coalition's strategy appears to be one of embarrassing ArcelorMittal's senior international management to the extent that it will take a hand in improving local conditions across nine countries. Two South African representatives were among those present to highlight ArcelorMittal South Africa's poor environmental legacy at its Vanderbijlpark facility," Ingi Salgado, Business Report & Independent.

Sharp exchange at shareholder meeting in Luxembourg

LUXEMBOURG -- "A newly-formed coalition of environmental and community groups - Global Action on ArcelorMittal - today released a report showing how local residents and workers around the world pay the price of ArcelorMittal's success. The report was launched at a press conference in Luxembourg to coincide with the company's annual shareholder meeting. It contains nine case studies detailing ArcelorMittal's legacy of pollution, environmental damage, health impacts and poor worker safety. In the report the coalition demands that ArcelorMittal implements environmental and health action plans in consultation with residents adjacent to the plants and plant workers in a democratic manner; Governments should not give ArcelorMittal perverse tax breaks or allow it to dispossess people from their land; and Public financial institutions should not support polluting industry such as ArcelorMittal, which has extensive resources of its own," press release, BankWatch Network.

Read the Report: In the wake of ArcelorMittal - the global steel giant's local impacts

LUXEMBOURG -- At the ArcelorMittal shareholder meeting yesterday, Liz Ilg, Ohio Citizen Action's Cleveland Program Director, asked Lakshmi Mittal, "Why do neighbors of your facilities around the world have to breathe rotten eggs, and children can't play outside in their yards?" An ArcelorMittal official approached Ilg and Phil Pavarinni, a Mittal Steel neighbor from Cleveland, and started to say that we shouldn't be allowed to speak. At this point, Pavarinni stood up and said, "We're shareholders, and we were told that's we're not allowed to speak. I don't know if that's how most companies would want to run their business." After Lakshmi Mittal defended his company's pollution record, Ilg told him, "You should come to Cleveland. Come and breathe the air that we're breathing there."

Listen to excerpt from Liz Ilg report by telephone from Luxembourg

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

ArcelorMittal faces critics

AKRON -- "Liz Ilg, an activist at Ohio Citizen Action, said the steelmaker has refused to respond to concerns flagged by local people near the Cleveland plant it bought in 2005 - including letters from more than 526 doctors and nurses detailing health problems linked to air pollution. She says the plant manager last met with campaigners in 2005 but the company had since decided to 'cut that dialogue off and address it only with public relations and no longer with decision makers.' ... 'The EPA doesn't even expect the company to test in every part of the facility,' she said. 'They (ArcelorMittal) plug in their production numbers and voila, they're in compliance every year. So they look really good on paper but in reality they have no idea how much they are polluting,'" Aoife White, Akron Beacon Journal.

read the rest

Monday, May 12, 2008

ArcelorMittal not serious about pollution control: activists

ArcelorMittal President and CEO Lakshmi Mittal
LONDON, England -- "ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, faces charges of leaving a trail of environmental destruction in its plants across the globe as environment campaigners plan to descend on Luxembourg next week to protest the company's lack of sensitivity towards pollution control. Protestors will present Arcelor's shareholders at its annual meeting with a 40-page dossier of evidence about the firm's lack of interest in controlling pollution at its manufacturing units across the globe, from Orissa in India to Vanderbijlpark in South Africa, a media report said today... Liz Ilg, from Citizen Action in Cleveland, Ohio, demanded that the company put more effort into cutting pollution at her local works," Daily News and Analysis.

Read the rest

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mittal braced for protests on pollution

LUXEMBOURG -- "Steel giant ArcelorMittal will be accused of leaving a trail of environmental destruction in its wake this week when campaigners descend on Luxembourg to protest at its annual meeting... Liz Ilg, from Citizen Action in Cleveland, Ohio, will demand the company put more effort into cutting pollution at her local works. She said: 'This is the most urban steel mill in the US: they've got more people living around them than any other plant - 390,000 within five miles.' Mittal took over the plant from International Steel Corporation in 2004. 'The main message is: start to look at pollution prevention at your facilities. The best way to do that is to sit down and talk to community members,' said Ilg. She has collected 34,000 signatures on a petition, but says the company has so far refused to meet local people,'" Heather Stewart, The Guardian Observer.

Read the rest