Thursday, October 19, 2000

Judge accepts case of Gallatin pollution




By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — A federal judge said Wednesday that he's willing to take on a convoluted environmental case involving Gallatin Steel, which already has agreed to pay a $925,000 fine for air pollution, but that he'd like a state agency to settle the matter instead.

        U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman has given the attorneys an April 1 deadline to build their case. However, he hopes the Kentucky Division of Air Quality can settle a continuing question of whether the company and Harsco Corp., two Ghent-based companies, have proper permits by then.

        If not, “I'll get into it and bring it to a conclusion,” he said. “I know a little bit about a lot of things, but I don't know much about this.”

       

        For the Ellis family — Vernon, 79, Tom, 48, and Richard, 45 — the case is dragging on.

        “It's been such a long battle. We're glad to be this far. But this is how it's been from the beginning,” Tom Ellis said.

        The Ellis family is trying to sue Gallatin Steel and Harsco, two Gallatin companies within a mile of the family's 167-acre property in Ghent.

        Gallatin manufactures flat-rolled steel from scrap metal. Harsco processes its molten slag.

        The Ellises say Harsco dumps molten slag on the ground and, upon contact, dark mushroom clouds from the impure slag form and stretch toward the sky. The dust settles onto the Ellises' property and affects their health, they allege.

       



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