Allegheny County Health Department to join lawsuit against U.S. Steel |

Allegheny County Health Department to join lawsuit against U.S. Steel

Jamie Martines
Tribune-Review file
The U.S. Steel Clairton Works plant on July 15, 2010.
The Allegheny County Health Department

The Allegheny County Health Department announced its intention to join a federal lawsuit brought by environmental groups against U.S. Steel.

“Joining this action will ensure the strongest case possible is brought against U.S. Steel,” a health department statement said. “After reviewing the initial filing, our legal counsel determined that collaborating with the citizens’ groups would increase the resources available to the department and allow for the best possible outcome of our enforcement action for public health and impacted residents.”

The National Environmental Law Center, on behalf of PennEnvironment and the Clean Air Council, announced Monday that the groups would move forward with a suit they initiated in February.

In February, the groups said they would sue if U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works facilities — which include Clairton Coke Works, Irvin Steel Mill and Edgar Thomson Plant — did not resolve alleged Clean Air Act permit violations related to coke oven gas pollution tied to a Dec. 24 fire at the Clairton Coke Works.

The groups are seeking a court order that would require U.S. Steel to comply with air permits, an order that would require U.S. Steel to remediate harm caused to local communities as well as hefty civil penalties to punish U.S. Steel for past violations and deter future violations, according to a statement from the groups.

The health department’s announcement comes the day after U.S. Steel announced a $1 billion investment in Mon Valley Works facilities that the company said will increase production while also having a positive environmental impact.

That investment will be put toward a cogeneration facility at the Clairton Plant and a new endless casting and rolling facility at the Edgar Thomson Plant.

Those upgrades are expected to reduce particulate matter, fine particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, according to statements from U.S. Steel.

“The response to the community is we’re going to run this business as effectively as we can, and the safest and most environmentally friendly way that we can,” U.S. Steel President and CEO David Burritt told reporters when pressed about the company’s environmental impact following the investment announcement Thursday. “We’re doing that each and every day, and with this technology it’s going to take us to an even better level.”

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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