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Allegheny County Health Department Tells U.S. Steel, Others that Mitigation Plans "Unacceptable"

Updated: Feb 20

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) has notified U.S. Steel and other major source polluters that emissions mitigation plans submitted to comply with Mon Valley Air Pollution Episode Rules are “unacceptable,” and ordered them to modify and resubmit paperwork or face possible fines.

You can read all about that Mon Valley Episode Rule here.

In a Jan. 31 Order of Disapproval and Order for Compliance, ACHD notified U.S. Steel that the mitigation plan submitted for its Clairton Coke Works facility was insufficient for myriad reasons. Chief among them: that the 3 percent estimated plantwide reductions in particulate pollution (both PM 10 and PM 2.5) were not great enough.

“Source is required to resubmit a plan that will reflect a greater reduction of its actual emissions from (30 listed processes) such that said reductions will have an appreciable effect on air quality…during any air pollution episode,” the order noted.

ACHD issued a similar order to the company over mitigation plans submitted for its Edgar Thomson facility in North Braddock – noting among other things that U.S. Steel’s proposed 4 percent reduction in PM10 and PM2.5 are “insufficient.”

Orders were also issued to:

  1. Clairton Slag in West Elizabeth Township

  2. ELG Metals in McKeesport

  3. TMS (USX Edgar Thomson) 

  4. TMS (West Mifflin)

The companies have a period of 30 days to either resubmit their plans or appeal the ACHD’s decision. Noncompliance could result in fines of up to $25,000 a day. The orders indicate that the current mitigation plans are to remain in effect until the modified documents are submitted.

While GASP appreciates that ACHD appears to be carefully reviewing the mitigation plans and pushing for greater emissions reductions that better protect ambient air quality and public health, we remain disappointed by the lack of transparency.

“These mitigation plans are a necessary tool for protecting the public’s health, we don’t see any reason why the health department cannot and should not make these mitigation plans available for public review,” GASP Executive Director Patrick Campbell said. “We encourage the health department to post these plans on its website for transparency’s – and accountability’s – sake.”

Rest assured that GASP will continue to press ACHD on this issue and report back to you what we find out.

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