Despite ArcelorMittal’s legal notice to the contrary, the Burns Harbor
Advisory Plan Commission will not conduct a public hearing Monday on the
steelmaker’s request for two excavation permits tied to an industrial-waste
landfill at the U.S. 12 plant.
Instead, the commission has scheduled preliminary hearings at its 7 p.m.
meeting to review the permit applications. If they are in order, a future
public hearing will be set.
The notice of public hearing published Sept. 2 in the Chesterton Tribune
at a Mittal manager’s request was news to planning officials.
According to commission secretary Tyler DeMar, “Typically, I get a phone
call from petitioners before they file anything. This time, all I got was a
box of documents via Fedex (on Sept. 2).”
One excavation permit is for the planned 75-acre Deerfield storage facility
at Mittal that generated controversy during its 2009 permitting process
before the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Mittal proposes
building a state-of-the-art landfill to accept sludge byproducts from its
Burns Harbor manufacturing process, some of which have been stockpiled on
The second Burns Harbor permit sought is for a proposed $3 million project
to excavate clay on a portion of the land Mittal owns west of Praxair and
the town’s Street Department bulk storage structure. The borrow-pit site
will be accessed by trucks, tarped when necessary, using Navajo Trail west
of Indiana 149.
According to the application submitted by Mittal consultants, subsurface
clay will be excavated, loaded and hauled to the steel plant for use in
constructing the recompacted soil liner for Phase 1 of the Deerfield
waste-storage facility. The clay to be excavated is covered by approximately
12 inches of vegetated topsoil that will be removed, stockpiled on site and
spread over the excavated clay borrow area, then revegetated with plant
By using Navajo Trail, according to the consultant, there will be a minimal
effect on existing traffic patterns and surrounding property.
Navajo, a short dead-end road, is located immediately north of the town hall
between the Little Calumet River and North Boo Road; Navajo’s the only
access to Indian Springs subdivision and to the town Fire, Street and
The permit application notes that because of the size of the 187-acre parcel
and the existing tree cover there that will serve as a screen, the
borrow-pit activities won’t cause adverse aesthetic effects for adjacent
property owners or the passing public.
Under the town’s excavation ordinance, after the public hearing the Plan
Commission shall approve or deny a permit application. Any party aggrieved
by that decision has 10 days to file a written notice of appeal to the Town
In August, 2009
the Burns Harbor Board of Zoning Appeals reversed its decision made two
months prior and granted zoning approval to expand Mittal’s on-site waste
disposal after Mittal filed a lawsuit challenging the June landfill
rejection. The BZA and the steelmaker agreed to eight conditions related to
the landfill expansion under a settlement proposal that had Mittal drop its