PennEnvironment sues three Pittsburgh U.S. Steel facilities for ongoing illegal air pollution

On April 29th, PennEnvironment and Clean Air Council announced our environmental lawsuit against U.S. Steel for violating the Clean Air Act at three of its Pittsburgh-area plants. These include Clairton Coke Works, the largest coal refining facility of its kind in North America, as well as the company’s Edgar Thomson Plant and Irvin Plant facility.

Violations occurred after U.S. Steel’s decision to operate the plants for more than three months without critical pollution control equipment. Our lawsuit alleges that U.S. Steel’s three facilities, located south of Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River, showered residents with unlawful pollution including emissions of sulfur dioxide (a respiratory irritant) at levels many times higher than the legal maximum. The plants likely also emitted higher levels of volatile organic compounds such as benzene, a carcinogen.

“It is unacceptable that US Steel ran these plants without essential pollution controls, claiming there was no safe alternative,” said Ashleigh Deemer, the Western PA director with PennEnvironment. “No one, including U.S. Steel, should be allowed to jeopardize our health by running what amounts to a doomsday machine with no ‘off’ switch.”

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania following a pre-suit notice to U.S. Steel and appropriate agencies on Feb.13.

Read the full press release. 

Photo: PennEnvironment’s Ashleigh Deemer speaks at the press conference for the lawsuit. Credit: Margaret Romero.