OSCEOLA – Nucor Steel has filed a lawsuit in federal court in an attempt to block a competitor from opening a mill in a northeastern Arkansas county.
The Nucor lawsuit filed Monday in Jonesboro seeks to block Big River Steel from building its $1.3 billion steel mill south of Osceola that would employ more than 500 workers, the Blytheville Courier News reported. It also seeks the revocation of Big River Steel’s air permit and requests civil penalties against company.
A Nucor mill is about 20 miles away from the new plant, and the lawsuit alleges Nucor employees could be sickened by the plant’s future emissions.
“Nucor clearly has a vital interest in the air quality of the region, including Mississippi County, Arkansas, because if the air quality goes down, the productivity of Nucor’s workforce will likewise go down, hindering Nucor’s ability to generate revenue and decreasing the value of Nucor’s Arkansas facilities,” the lawsuit said.
Nucor previously filed several objections to the mill during the approval process. An Arkansas environmental regulatory panel issued an air quality permit for the planned mill in April.
Big River Steel founder John Correnti called the lawsuit “frivolous,” saying the company should be “ashamed of themselves.”
“It’s just more of the same,” Correnti said. “They lost with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality; they appealed it, lost again, appealed to an administrative judge, lost again. I don’t know when they’re going to figure out that it’s all frivolous.”
Correnti’s comments echoed what he told Arkansas Business last month when asked about Nucor’s previous objections to the plant.
“What Nucor was trying to do is cause doubt and concern in our investor group and in our debt-holders. They were basically trying to chase away our investors and chase away our banks from doing the project for fear there would be a long, drawn-out litigation process, which nobody wants,” he said. “At the end of the day the lawyers win. Nobody else wins. It would be like Wal-Mart or Costco or Target complaining if they put a store across the street from each other.”
A ground-breaking has been planned in September.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, broadcast or distributed.)