U.S. Steel pays $17,550 penalty for wetland damage at its Keetac facility in Keewatin

Contact: Lucie Amundsen, 218-302-6600

U.S. Steel’s Keetac facility in Keewatin has paid a $17,550 civil penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The company incurred the fine for its failure to prevent sediment from washing into an adjacent wetland at Keetac’s facility on multiple occasions and failure to report the incidents in a timely manner.

The uncontrolled runoff from an earth and rock stockpile was found deposited in a wetland down slope of the stockpile on Keetac property near the processing plant. A survey of the wetland indicated that the two incidents of unauthorized impact filled approximately 5,967 square feet of wetland.

The company paid a $17,550 penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and took action to restore the damage, prevent future impacts and report releases. The Keetac facility has since submitted a Sediment and Erosion Control Plan describing activities completed and planned to control runoff from the stockpile. The facility has also committed to reporting any spills or releases in a timely manner.

MPCA permits are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When companies do not fully comply with permit requirements, the resulting pollution can be harmful to people and the environment.

When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected the environment, whether they were first-time or repeat violations, and how promptly the violations were reported to authorities. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.