Environment: Shutdown in Gary

Ever since New Year's Day, a familiar sight has been missing from Gary, Ind. For the first time in years, there is no miasma of smoke over U.S. Steel's Open Hearth Mill No. 4—a complex of ten 65-year-old furnaces that annually produce 960,000 tons of steel and, as an unwelcome byproduct, 2,700 tons of airborne grit. Because it claims that it cannot curb the fumes right now, the company has shut down the mill. The decision could cost 2,500 employees their jobs in a city with an unemployment rate already approaching 15%.

At first...

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