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GASP Files Notice of Intent to Sue Harsco Metals

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

On Oct. 18, 2017, GASP sent a letter to Harsco Metals to provide notice that GASP intends to file a citizen suit against Harsco, based on its failure to apply for a “major source” operating permit for its slag processing facility located on the premises of Allegheny Ludlum’s Brackenridge Works in Natrona Heights.

Title V of the Clean Air Act requires every “major source” of air pollution to obtain an operating permit that includes all of the applicable clean air requirements. A “major source” operating permit is like a snapshot that includes all emissions limits and standards to which the source is subject, as well as all operating, monitoring, and reporting requirements that apply.

By including all the requirements in one document, “major source” operating permits help air pollution source operators comply with such requirements. They also help regulators and members of the public enforce them. The term “major source” includes “any group of stationary sources located within a contiguous area and under common control” that “emits, or has the potential to emit, one hundred tons per year or more of any pollutant.”

Collectively, the Brackenridge Works and Harsco’s slag processing plant emit, or have the potential to emit, more than one hundred tons per year of several air pollutants, including particulate matter, particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter, particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds. These types of air pollution are known to cause respiratory irritation, asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes, and premature death.

Because Harsco’s slag processing plant is located on the premises of the Brackenridge Works, it and the Brackenridge Works are presumed to be under ‘common control’ for air permitting purposes. Accordingly, Harsco qualifies as a ‘major source’ for air quality permitting purposes and must obtain a ’major source’ operating permit.

In 2012 and 2013, ACHD requested that Harsco submit an application for a “major source” operating permit, but it failed to do so. Unfortunately, this is just one of many examples of facilities in the region lacking a necessary permit to operate; learn more about these missing or delayed permits on our web page here:

Through this citizen suit, GASP seeks to enjoin violations, ensure future compliance, impose penalties for violations, recover attorney fees and costs of litigation, and obtain any other appropriate relief.

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