Clairton Coke Works battery closure “breath of fresh air” for Mon Valley

Media Contacts
Zach Barber

Clean Air Advocate, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Retiring outdated coke ovens will reduce toxic pollution linked to asthma, cancer, and other health problems

PITTSBURGH — U.S. Steel announced that it will close the three most-polluting batteries at its Clairton Coke Works facility by March 27, 2023. This news comes after years of pressure from local residents and environmental advocates to address harmful emissions from the facility. Additionally, PennEnvironment  and Clean Air Council filed a Clean Air Act citizen’s suit pushing U.S. Steel to upgrade aging equipment, reduce toxic emissions, and pay for its history of emissions violations, which is still pending. 


The Clairton Coke Works has been named by the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center as one of Allegheny County’s “Toxic Ten” air polluters.


Zachary Barber, clean air advocate for PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center, issued the following statement:


“Permanently closing three of the worst-polluting coke batteries at U.S. Steel’s Clairton plant will come as a breath of fresh air to residents in the Mon Valley and across the region. For too long, U.S. Steel has run roughshod over our environmental protections, spewing out dangerous levels of harmful air pollution. Closing these batteries is a necessary and long-overdue step toward cleaning up one of Allegheny County’s Toxic Ten.


“Some of the worst pollution from the Clairton Coke Works comes from these nearly 70-year-old coke batteries, which, because of existing air pollution regulations, have been allowed to run under unsafe, outdated environmental standards. These three batteries are responsible for up to one-third of all permitted emissions of fine particulate matter from the Clairton coke oven batteries. Permanently shutting them down will protect the public from unhealthy emissions linked to asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer and premature death. 


“Sadly, even with the closure of these coke batteries, the Clairton Coke Works will still likely continue to be one of the largest and most toxic polluters in Allegheny County. It is critical that local leaders keep working to ratchet down industrial pollution to ensure that all Pittsburghers have clean air to breathe every day of the year. Pollution limits across the rest of the facility should be tightened to health-protective levels and U.S. Steel must face meaningful consequences for continued emissions violations.”



PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center is an environmental non-profit dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. For more information, visit