U.S. Steel is to permanently idle battery No. 15 at the Clairton coke plant in its Mon Valley works in Pennsylvania following a series of air pollution incidents and fines.
The unit has been on hot idle. “The permanent idle will take place without job reductions. This permanent idling may lead to additional emissions reductions,” the Pittsburgh-headquartered company said.
The decision forms part of a consent decree the steelmaker has signed with the Allegheny County Health Department and two lobby groups, the Clean Air Council and PennEnvironment, to address a fire at Clairton in 2018 and power outages at the plant in 2019 and 2022. The consent decree is subject to court approval.
“We regret that these accidental incidents occurred and believe this consent decree greatly benefits Mon Valley communities,” U.S. Steel said.
The company has also agreed to: a lower hydrogen sulphide limit in coke oven gas and other environmentally beneficial changes to Clairton; invest around $19.5 million to upgrade the coke oven gas cleaning systems; contribute $4.5 million to projects supporting public health and welfare and/or air quality improvement in the Mon Valley area; pay $500,000 to the Allegheny County Clean Air Fund; and cover part of the Clean Air Council’s and PennEnvironment’s litigation costs.
A few weeks ago Allegheny’s health department imposed a financial penalty of $2.2 million on U.S. Steel for air emission violations at Clairton. Two years ago it fined the company $1.8 million for breaching air pollution regulations more than 2,000 times between the start of 2020 and March 1, 2022.
Mon Valley’s workforce strives daily to make steel in a way which complies with all environmental regulations, said the works’ VP Kurt Barshick. “When we miss that mark, we will make changes so we can do better,” he said.
U.S. Steel said it invests more than $100 million per year on environmental compliance efforts at the Mon Valley works.
This article was first published by CRU. Learn more about CRU’s services at www.crugroup.com.
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