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U.S. Steel, ACHD Trade Barbs Over Coke Oven Enforcement Procedures; GASP: As They Bicker We Suffer

The Allegheny County Health Department and U.S. Steel traded barbs over the past few weeks in legal filings addressing evidentiary issues in a pending case addressing enforcement procedures ACHD uses to assess penalties at the steelmaker’s Clairton Coke facility.

To make a long story short: Following the filing of U.S. Steel’s initial dispute resolution petition last month demanding certain fines be vacated due to air quality inspectors improperly conducting emissions opacity readings (allegedly), ACHD filed objections to the company’s reliance on video evidence it said was recorded in “bad faith” and that was not in keeping with guidance on emissions opacity readings.

U.S. Steel in return made its own request to the hearing officer, asking in a filing this week that the department’s objections be dismissed because ACHD was misapplying court rules and attempting to paint the company in a “bad light.”

“‘How opaque is that smoke, really?’ That’s it. That’s the issue. And even after ACHD and U.S. Steel entered into a Settlement Agreement in 2019 designed to – among other topics – address the opacity issue they are still arguing in 2023,” said GASP staff attorney Ned Mulcahy.

He continued:

“It’s shameful. It’s a waste. And while a corporate ‘good neighbor’ and government officials bicker, community members still endure poor air quality entirely too often.”

While we wait for the next installment in this ongoing air quality case, you can read the initial petition here, ACHD’s objections here, and U.S. Steel’s most recent filing here.

GASP continues to follow the issue and will keep you posted as it proceeds.

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