Steel Plant May Be Allowed to Release More Toxins

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- A Detroit-area steel plant would be allowed to release higher volumes of toxins into the air under a revised permit proposed by the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The Detroit Free Press reports ( ) the changes to a 2006 emissions permit would approve releasing more than 725 times more lead into the air from one portion of Severstal in Dearborn. Permitted lead releases from other Severstal operations also would increase.

The DEQ and officials with the Russian steelmaker say the change will not be an increase in pollutants; instead, it's what has already been sent out by the plant for years. The DEQ says Severstal's 2006 emissions permit was based on data that was incomplete.

The company has invested more than $1.6 billion into the plant, including pollution control.