Friday, March 4, 2011

BIG company, but small OSHA penalties for workplace fatalities

Samuel Nelson Moyer
LAPLACE, LA -- "Roxanne Moyer wondered why managers at her husband's worksite would allow an obvious dangerous condition to exist. Workers could be so "close to molten steel [that it] just poured over on them." Her husband, Samuel Moyer, 32 died earlier this month at Arcelor Mittal's LaPlace, Lousiania steel mill in exactly that way. He was fatally burned with molten steel.
Mrs. Moyer sounds like a generous and forgiving soul, saying:
'I don't want it to happen to anybody else. And they've already changed things there. We've talked to fellow workers, and they've already put up a shield there and you can't even get that close to it anymore.'
I'm not so tolerant. How is it that the world's largest steel company, with revenues topping $78 Billion in 2010, can ignore such a hazard? They didn't do anything about it until after a worker was killed?
Part of the problem is there are no meaningful consequences for employers who violate safety regulations that lead to worker injuries or deaths. Under workers' compensation law, it is next to impossible for a surviving family to sue their loved one's employer. Under OSHA, the maximum penalty for a serious violation is only $7,000. That penalty figure hasn't been updated since 1991; in today's dollars its only worth $4,400."

-- Celeste Monforton, The Pump Handle blog

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Photos: Zenica citizens protest Arcelor-Mittal

photos: Almir Alic

Citizens of Zenica protest Mittal pollution

Citizens of Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, are protesting for the third week against ArcelorMittal's failure to fit pollution filters at the city's steel plants. The air quality is very bad, and concentrations of PM 10 and  SO2 have repeatedly exceeded 'alert' levels. In addition to these  harmful pollutants Zenica citizens are most concerned about  carcinogenic pollutant benzene and volatile organic compounds in the  air, which have not been measured for more than a year. The last measurements of benzene showed very high hourly values.

The local authorities and environment protection agencies have not  officially commented on the current air quality situation and do  little to prevent it and protect the health of citizens of Zenica. The  local authorities have not responded to the protestors, and the  protestors remain committed to their goal of ensuring a livable environment in Zenica.

- Tarik Mujacic, Global Action on Arcelor-Mittal

 Photos: Dado Ruvic

Monday, August 2, 2010

ArcelorMittal fined EUR 6000 for water pollution in Bosnia and Herzegovina

BOSNIA -- "The Federal Inspectorate has fined ArcelorMittal 13 300 KM [around EUR 6000] for yet another pollution incident in the River Bosna in Bosnia-Herzegovina, just a day after the company reportedly denied that it was the cause of the most recent incident.

Laboratory analysis of samples taken during the pollution incident in the Zenica area has confirmed that the substances involved originated from ArcelorMittal Zenica's slag landfill.

Very high pH values, electrical conductivity of TDS (total dissolved solids) and suspended particles were registered, and the confirmed values of the tested quality parameters are characteristic for waste waters from a tailings basin with slag, according to the analysis.

The results of the published chemical analysis show that wastewater from the slag landfill caused the pollution incident on 15th and 16th August at Banlozi.

The Agency for the Sava River Basin recommends that the Inspectorate bans the discharge of such wastewater into waterways, or that pretreatment is carried out before its release. The Inspectorate is planning to meet with ArcelorMittal next week to discuss wastewater treatment.

Pippa Gallop, Research Co-ordinator, Central and Eastern Europe Bankwatch Network

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Arcelor Mittal: Penal za ekoloŇ°ki incident 13.300 KM

Monday, June 7, 2010

Government of Liberia and ArcelorMittal complicit in the misuse of county development funds

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- "The County Social Development Fund established by the government of Liberia and ArcelorMittal Liberia is failing to address the needs of communities impacted by the operations of ArcelorMittal in Liberia. This is the key conclusion of a new report released by Sustainable Development Institute from Liberia, Friends of the Earth Europe and Global Action on ArcelorMittal, a coalition of civil society groups tracking ArcelorMittal operations worldwide,"

-- press release, Global Action on ArcelorMittal.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rusty reasoning: groups challenge European Investment Bank to justify the latest ArcelorMittal public millions

Arcelor Mittal operations in Zenica, Bosnia. (Adnan Dzonlic)
LUXEMBOURG -- On 21 October 2009 the European Investment Bank’s board of directors approved a loan to ArcelorMittal worth EUR 250 million for a research and development programme said to be all about bringing environmental added value to the company's European operations. Couldn't a company the size of ArcelorMittal be expected to either fund the project out of its own resources or be able to access commercial loans, leaving advantageous European Investment Bank funding to companies more in need? Frustrated by their dealings with the EIB on these matters, Bankwatch, ClientEarth and Global Action on ArcelorMittal have this week lodged a formal complaint with the Secretary General of the European Investment Bank that questions the rigour and ultimate validity of the bank's pre-loan assessment. Read it here and consider the magnetic pull ArcelorMittal seems to have towards public money.

-- CEE Bank Watch Network

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

EU court dismisses Arcelor challenge against ETS

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The EU's General Court yesterday (2 March) ruled against steel company Arcelor's attempt to challenge the rules governing the EU's emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) and associated claim for damages. The Court ruled Arcelor's action as inadmissible on the grounds that only companies individually or directly concerned by EU acts can bring a legal challenge to them. It argued that Arcelor is "neither individually nor directly concerned by the directive," which applies generally to all operators that it covers, including those in pig iron or steel production.


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