North American steel industry launches Gulf Coast Initiative
Twelve North American steel companies have joined together under a special initiative to help rebuild the U.S. Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Collectively, they have committed $1.1 million to support the Gulf Coast Steel Initiative through a business plan put together by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). The initiative's ultimate goal is to "rebuild stronger with steel" a region subject to severe storms.
The newly launched Gulf Coast Steel Initiative will focus on implementing long-term strategies to positively impact future construction practices in the region. "The strength of this commitment is based on the significant investment made by the industry in Market Development over the past five years that provides steel-based solutions to the rebuilding challenges we're seeing in the Gulf Coast region," John Surma, chairman of AISI and chairman and CEO of United States Steel Corp. said. "The $1.1 million funding for the [initiative] is in addition to more than $7 million already contributed to the disaster relief effort by North American steel companies on an individual basis."
After discussions with local, state, and federal officials involved in disaster relief efforts, the initiative's supporting companies decided on a course of action focused on where the need is clearly the greatest—the residential market. Resources will be used to mobilize efforts that support local communities and businesses in the rebuilding process that utilize the expertise available through AISI's Market Development programs, particularly in the areas of steel framing and roofing. In addition, steel is playing a role in solid waste reduction through its recycling program.
"Like everyone else, we were amazed at the extent of damage sustained by the Gulf Coast region," Andrew G. Sharkey, III, president and CEO of AISI, said. "After a comprehensive review of the needs throughout the region and a universal concern to rebuild it stronger than before, we recognized that our industry had a lot to offer that could impact the region for years to come. Through our long-term investment in Market Development, we have established a number of steel-based solutions that can help to rebuild homes and the infrastructure of the region while also helping to fortify it against future storms."
Sharkey also said, "We are pleased that Canadian and Mexican companies also joined in this important rebuilding initiative." He said the initiative's supporting companies would welcome the participation of other organizations with similar goals to provide steel-intensive solutions for rebuilding the region.
The initiative's objectives are to:
- Work with affected communities to support the use of state-of-the-art design and construction practices for hurricane-prone areas by providing educational programs for building inspectors,
- Encourage the introduction of insurance and lending programs that promote the use of durable construction materials,
- Partner with local contractors and technical schools to train workers on how to build homes using steel framing and roofing, and
- Assist with clean-up efforts by facilitating steel product recycling throughout the region, which will provide business owners and consumers with information on where they can take their steel products to have them recycled.
Companies supporting the initiative are:
- AK Steel Corp.
- California Steel Industries Inc.
- Dofasco Inc.
- IMSA ACERO, S.A. de C.V.
- IPSCO Inc.
- Mittal Steel USA
- Nucor Corp.
- Shenango Inc.
- Steel Dynamics Inc.
- United States Steel Corp.
- USS-POSCO Industries
- Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp.
Progress being made by the initiative will be reported on the AISI Web site, www.steel.org. The site currently is under construction.