According to a Lawsuit, the EPA Needs to Update Federal Regulations for Coking Facilities

According to a Lawsuit, the EPA Needs Update Federal Regulations for Coking Facilities

A collection of environmental advocacy groups recently had a win in federal court regarding the regulation of pollution from coke ovens around the country. They claim the Environmental Protection Agency did not properly regulate the pollution coming from coke ovens, including ones from Clairton Coke Works. The EPA is now reviewing the decision and is figuring out its next step moving forward.

The statewide organization PennFuture, which has an office location in Pittsburgh, was part of the lawsuit. The lawsuit started because of EarthJustice, an organization in San Francisco. It started in April 2019 in the Northern District of California, and included the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, the Sierra Club, and Gasp of Birmingham, Alabama.

The lawsuit claims the EPA did not review or change rules dealing with federal emissions standards with the coking process since 2005. The EPA realized the rules needed to be changed when writing them and planned to review them within eight years, but this never happened. It even admitted that it never took the proper actions to review the coke oven facilities according to the clean air act.

U.S. Steel is not a part of the lawsuit, but since it owns Clairton Coke Works and the decision can affect U.S. Steel’s operations, it is watching the court’s decision. The court is requiring the EPA to do a technology and risk review for oven and coke batteries and stacks. It needs to be completed in the next 30 months. PennFuture is happy about this decision, citing the rule will make the EPA ensure coke oven operators are using the best technology available to reduce the amount of pollution created by their processes.

Coke ovens are essential parts of the steel making process, but they are very harmful to the environment because of the pollution they create. They heat coal to make steel, which is a very dirty process. Many different pollutants enter the air, which can then travel to surrounding communities, causing health problems for those living near the plant. A lot of the particulate matter is carcinogenic, so many people are unnecessarily getting cancer for simply living near a coke making plant. This needs to change so people are not punished for where they live.

If you were exposed to a harmful carcinogen and now have cancer, contact us today to see if you could be entitled to compensation. Call 412-471-3980 or fill out our contact form and one of our staff will get back to you as soon as possible.

Source:
Teghan Simonton, “PennFuture lawsuit says EPA must update federal regulations for coke ovens” TribLive (July 8, 2020). [Link]
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