Time Running Out to Speak Out About U.S. Steel Clairton Coke Works’ Draft Air Quality Permit

Updated: Sep 9


The deadline to weigh in on the draft air quality permit for U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works is quickly approaching, and it’s so important that regulators hear from residents like you.


GASP is making that as easy as possible: Our attorneys have pored over the more than 300-page permit and are preparing written technical comments on its deficiencies. But they also took the time to distill all that information down into an FAQ we can all understand.


Here’s what you need to know to make your voice heard, as well as sample language and a form that automatically routes your comments to the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD):

About the Air Quality Permit Process, Requirments

ACHD has published a draft Title V Operating Permit renewal for U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works and is accepting comments on the draft permit from the public through March 15.

A major source of air pollution (as that term is defined by the Clean Air Act) is required by the Act to have a Title V Operating Permit issued by the regulatory agency that has primary regulatory authority over the source.  


A facility’s Title V Operating Permit must include all operating restrictions and emission limits to which the facility is subject, as well as testing, monitoring, recordkeeping, reporting, and work practice requirements that are sufficient to assure the facility’s compliance with those restrictions and limits.  


The Problems with U.S. Steel Clairton Coke Works’ Draft Permit

“During our review of the draft permit for the Clairton Coke Works, we found a few problematic omissions,” GASP senior attorney John Baillie said.


First, the Clean Air Act requires that Title V Operating Permits for facilities out of compliance with existing requirements when the permit is issued include a “compliance schedule” designed to bring it into compliance.


Even though the Clairton Coke Works is “non-compliant” with existing requirements by ACHD’s own reckoning, the draft permit does not include such a schedule.  


Second, the testing, monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements that the draft permit would impose on several sources within the facility are not sufficient to assure compliance with the emission limits for those sources,” Baillie explained.  


Such sources include the facility’s No. 1 and No. 2 Continuous Barge Unloaders, Pedestal Crane Unloader, Coal Transfer Process, Surge Bins and Bunkers, Coke Transfer Process, No. 1 and No. 2 Coke Screening Stations, Coal and Coke Recycle Screening Process, and Peters Creek Coke Screening Process.


“We welcome and encourage residents who have been impacted by emissions from the Clairton Coke Works in joining us in telling the health department: Don’t squander this opportunity to make improvements to the health and quality of life for people who live near and downwind of the facility,” GASP Executive Director Patrick Campbell said. “Let’s send the message to ACHD and U.S. Steel: We demand better.”


How to Submit a Public Comment About U.S. Steel Clairton Coke Works’ Title V Permit

Members of the public may submit written comments to ACHD by U.S. Mail at 301 39th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201. Any comments you submit should reference the draft Title V Operating Permit for U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works (#0052-OP22).


Or you can use our form and sample language to email your comment to ACHD. Check it out:


Editor's Note: The deadline to submit comments has passed. Thanks to all who weighed in!

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