The Environmental Protection Agency has said that it will seek a High Court injunction which will close the Irish Ispat steel manufacturing plant in Cork, unless the company brings the emission of toxic dust under control. The warning is a significant threat to the future of the plant, which employs more than 300 people. In documents seen by RTÉ News, the EPA says that it is satisfied that the emissions are causing significant environmental pollution.
With a promise to invest £30 million over five years, Ispat International took over Irish Steel in May 1996 as the plant was about to close. Five years later just £19m of that money has been invested and Irish Ispat is facing difficulties over pollution which could threaten the future of the plant. Since 1999, Ispat has informed the EPA on over a dozen occasions about emissions from the plant which posed a risk of pollution. These emissions, or huge dust clouds, contained lead and other dioxins.
The EPA has given the company several opportunities to take corrective action. But now, faced with more than 70 complaints from the public and bodies such as the Naval Service and Cobh Chamber of Commerce, the EPA has threatened to seek an injunction in the High Court, which would close Irish Ispat Ireland's only steel manufacturing plant, unless the emissions stop.