Neighbors of Mittal Steel ride bikes for clean air

(Plain Press, June 2007) On a cold and rainy Saturday morning on April 28 about a dozen neighbors from Tremont, Slavic Village, Ohio City and Old Brooklyn and members of Ohio Citizen Action’s staff set out on bikes for a 12-mile loop past the giant Mittal Steel complex and Steelyard Commons.

 The "Neighbors of Mittal Steel" outing was a fundraiser to pay for more "Mittal Steel: Clean Up for Real" yard signs.  828 neighbors have already put signs in their yards, and the group's goal was to increase the number of signs to 1,000 by May 6.  Each bike rider raised $50 in sponsor pledges.

The Mittal Steel Cleveland Works facility is the number one air polluter in Cuyahoga County (Source: Ohio EPA 2005 Title V Emissions Fee Report). The Cleveland plant has more residents within five miles of the facility than any other steel mill in the country, according to the U.S. EPA’s demographic data (Enforcement and Compliance History Online Database).

Residents surrounding the steel mill continue to report rotten egg odors and metal flakes on their homes and cars. “We’ve taken ourselves and our kids to see the doctors at an environmental health clinic. They recommend that our children shouldn’t play outside because of the heavy metals in the grass and soil,” report Denise Denham and Donna Levandowski, residents of Independence Road.

Riders on the April 28th bike ride wore homemade bandanas around their noses and mouths with the same slogan as the yard signs. Brendan McNamara from Cleveland Bikes, a bike advocacy group in Cleveland, led the tour.

For more information on Neighbors of Mittal Steel’s monthly community meetings or Ohio Citizen Action’s good neighbor campaign urging Mittal Steel to prevent pollution, visit www.ohiocitizen.org or contact Liz Ilg, Cleveland Program Director with Ohio Citizen Action at (216) 861-5200.

 

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