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New Developments in U.S. Steel, Allegheny Co. Health Dept. Dispute Over Air Quality Penalties

Editor’s Note: The Allegheny County Health Department periodically updates its website to include documents related to air quality enforcement actions. As part of our watchdog work, GASP monitors this webpage and reports on the air quality violations posted there.

There are new developments in the dispute between U.S. Steel and the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) over the air quality regulator’s attempt to impose stipulated penalties for violations of emission limitations at the company’s Clairton Coke Works facility.

Such stipulated penalties are spelled out in a 2019 settlement agreement between ACHD and the Mon Valley steelmaker.

Here’s what’s happening:

First, U.S. Steel on Monday filed a lengthy petition to resolve the dispute, to which ACHD has yet to respond formally.

Second, ACHD is asserting that U.S. Steel is not permitted to take discovery related to the dispute under the terms of that settlement agreement.

GASP is currently reviewing the documents and continues to follow this issue closely. Stay tuned. We have an explainer in the works.

In the meantime, we think it’s also worth noting that this is just the latest in a series of air quality-related appeals filed by the steelmaking giant.

U.S. Steel in December appealed the Nov. 21 Title V Operating Permit issued by ACHD, alleging it imposes numerous unlawful enforceable conditions and that regulators exceeded their authority when creating myriad emissions limits at the plant. You can read more about that here.

That’s not all: U.S. Steel in 2022 also appealed two ACHD enforcement orders and associated multi-million penalties. One dealt with illegal hydrogen sulfide emissions from the Clairton Coke Works. The other dealt with hundreds of uncontrolled pushing violations at the facility.

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