The Steel Imports Hearing

Click to see original imageCentral Utahns should not take lightly the current steel industry problems – nor underplay the important economic stake this area has in the Geneva plant and its continued operation. The public hearing on the impact of steel imports on Utah’s steel industry to be held Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. at Provo High School will be informational as well as providing opportunity of the crisis and how it affects the Utah Valley plant. The nationwide problem applies here as well as to other plants across the country. Tl1e hearing will be conducted by two members of a ninemember executive board of the congressional Executive Steel Caucus – Rep. Gunn McKay of Utah and Rep. John Murtha of Johnstown, Pa. With the stake our area has in a healthy steel industry, we would hope the citizenry will shake off the usual apathy accompanying public hearings and attend in numbers. For years the substantial importation of foreign steel has represented a growing problem for the domestic steel industry. The situation has reached serious dimensions this year and the Carter Administration has promised a package program designed to support the troubled industry. Expected this week, the program reportedly contains a method to cut foreign imports and offer several hundred million dollars in aid to finance modemization of aging facilities. Steel industry profits have sagged badly in the past 12 months during which some 60,000 steelworkers have been laid off at steel mills, mostly in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Currently, imported steel accounts for 20 per cent of the U.S. market. Under the administration’s plan, that share might be reduced to 12 or 14 percent, according to unofficial reports. A gauge on concern as it applies to Geneva Works can be seen in the twopart interview with Geneva General Superintendent Henry Huish published in the Herald Wednesday and today. A number of officials already have made requests to address Saturday’s hearing, including Mr. Huish, other steel industry represen-tatives, spokesmen from allied industries, public officials, etc. Following the speeches there will be a period of general testimony in which citizens at large may speak. Those wishing to speak should register with Congressman McKay’s Provo office. Written testimony can also be submitted to the office before or immediately after the public hearing. A healthy public interest and local as well as national initiative and understanding can be helpful in finding effective solutions.