Public hearing held over operating permit for Clairton Coke Works

CLAIRTON, Pa. — Dozens turned out for the first of two public hearings regarding the operating permit for U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works.

Channel 11 first told you back in October that the EPA had granted a petition requiring the county to make changes to the plant’s operating permit.

>> EPA grants petition against U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works plant

Many spoke in favor of tighter regulations.

“The time to hold U.S. Steel accountable is now,” one man said.

“This history of paying fines instead of reducing emissions problems indicates a willingness of U.S. Steel to operate the Coke Works in a pay to pollute relationship with ACHD,” Matthew Mehalik of the Breathe Project said.

“I’m not even sure why we’re talking about Clairton Coke Works when they’re in a possible sale position,” a resident named Melanie said.

Channel 11 told you in December that Japanese Company Nippon was acquiring U.S. Steel.

>> Japanese steel company to purchase U.S. Steel for nearly $15B

Representatives from U.S. Steel also spoke at the hearing saying the proposed permit already goes too far.

“In 2019, the Clairton Coke Plant set a record stack compliance of 99.7%, broke that record in 2020, tied that record in 2021, broke that record in 2022 and finished 2023 with a 99.8% compliance,” Kurt Barshick, V.P. of U.S. Steel Mon Valley Works said. “Is the intent to shut down the Clairton Coke Plant? To cost 3,000 Pittsburgh employees their jobs?”

Clairton’s mayor agreed, calling the permit too restrictive.

“I live very close to the mill and there has been a significant improvement regarding air emissions and quality,” Clairton Mayor Richard Lattanzi said.

There is another public hearing set for Jan. 17 in Harrison Township.

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