Steel Uncertainty

UNEASINESS SHROUDS the Ohio Valley steel industry like never before.

Auctioning of RG Steel’s various plants commenced Tuesday. It only added to the pensive mood of steelworkers, officials and their families.

Some of the facilities were purchased. The Martins Ferry, Yorkville and Mingo facilities all attracted buyers. We harbor hope that is a positive sign.

Two other RG facilities — Warren Steel and Sparrows Point LLC — had their respective auctions rescheduled. Again, we hope that means good things.

We believe all the aforementioned steel plants possess potential for productivity. The facilities are in workable condition while an experienced, trained and anxious work force is ready to be called back.

The key lies in ownership of those once-thriving operations as well as governmental support.

Buyers such as RG Steel are not needed. The steelmaker bought the business from Severstal. It took RG Steel all of one year to file for bankruptcy. That is leadership lacking in vision and commitment.

New steel ownership blood is needed. It must bring with it a long-range plan for success as well as no turn-a-quick-profit and leave town scenario.

Much of the steel industry’s demise can be traced to our political leaders in Washington. For all too long, US lawmakers have allowed foreign countries to dump steel at outrageously low prices.

Consequently, our local plants have been hammered into near submission. Unfortunately, the current political climate will do nothing to help the cause.

None of Tuesday’s sales will be stamped final until approved in federal bankruptcy court by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey. Once that occurs, we hope it breathes renewed life into a steel industry on life support.