U.S. Steel fights $1M fine from Health Department for Clairton pollution |

U.S. Steel fights $1M fine from Health Department for Clairton pollution

Theresa Clift
U.S. Steel employees and visitors tour the C Battery during opening day ceremonies Jan. 31, 2013 for the new facility at Clairton Coke Works.

U.S. Steel is fighting a $1 million fine the Allegheny County Health Department issued for air pollution at its Clairton Coke Works plant.

The $1 million fine, issued last month , was due Monday, according to department officials.

The company Friday filed an administrative appeal and petition for stay for the entire order, according to Michael Parker, health department solicitor.

To file the appeal, the company had to pay the $1 million fine, but it is being kept in the department’s escrow account and cannot be spent until the appeal is resolved, Parker said.

If a stay is granted, the rest of the department’s requirements included in the order would also be on hold until the appeal is resolved, Parker said.

The department’s enforcement action would require the company to submit a comprehensive assessment of its coke batteries, including details of all current emissions and a proposal of how it plans to reduce future sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and visible emissions, Parker said.

If compliance rates do not improve in six months, the department’s enforcement action includes plans to order the two worst-performing batteries at the Clairton facility to shut down.

A U.S. Steel spokeswoman declined to comment Tuesday.

A hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Health Department’s Clack Building 7, Parker said. It will be open to the public.

Clairton Coke Works is the largest byproducts coke plant in North America and the only remaining coke plant in the county. The plant operates 10 coke batteries and produces about 10,000 tons of coke per day.

The $1 million fine is a result of a more strict civil penalties policy the department adopted. The department is also working to enact stricter rules for coke plants, department officials said earlier this month.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Theresa at 412-380-5669, [email protected] or via Twitter @tclift.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.