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Nucor sues to halt $1.3 billion steel mill in Arkansas

First Published      Last Updated Aug 11 2014 06:31 pm

Chicago • Nucor Corp., the largest U.S. steelmaker and a Utah employer, sued to block construction of a $1.3 billion steel mill in Arkansas, accusing developer Big River Steel of violating obligations under the Clean Air Act.

Pollutants from the planned mill would harm the air quality in Arkansas' Mississippi County, including at a Nucor facility there, according to a 50-page complaint filed Aug. 7 in federal court in Jonesboro, Ark.

"If the air quality goes down, the productivity of Nucor's workforce will likewise go down, hindering Nucor's ability to generate revenue and decreasing the value of Nucor's Arkansas facilities," the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company said in the complaint.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in July reported that an investment in the plant by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission was the biggest in the state's history.

The planned mill would employ about 500 people and produce steel for the automotive, oil and gas and electrical energy industries, Big River Steel said in a statement on July 1 on its website. Construction would last about two years, it said.

Big River Steel's website said the company isn't commenting regarding the mill.

A message left at the press office of Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, wasn't returned immediately.

Nucor has a subsidiary in the Box Elder County city of Plymouth, where it manufactures hot rolled carbon steel products— carbon steel angles, channels, flat bars, rounds, squares and concrete reinforcing bars for customers throughout the West.