40+ PA Elected Officials Call for Strong Limits on Coal-Processing Steel Facilities

Leaders across the commonwealth called on the EPA to move quickly on air pollution.

A dozen state lawmakers and almost 30 municipal officials submitted a letter to the Environmental Protect Agency in support of reducing toxic air pollution from coal-processing steel facilities.

Mr. Michael S. Regan, Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Regan,

As local leaders from across Pennsylvania, we are writing in  support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to reduce toxic air pollution from coal-processing steel facilities across the nation, including the Clairton Coke Works and the Monessen coke plant located here in Pennsylvania (EPA-HQ-OAR-2002-0085).

U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works is the most-toxic polluter in Allegheny County, according to PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center’s Toxic Ten report, and released the second-most toxic air pollution of any industrial facility in Pennsylvania in 2021, according to the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory. Incredibly, the facility accounts for 97% of all air emissions of the carcinogen benzene in Allegheny County and 40% of all benzene air emissions reported by industrial facilities statewide in Pennsylvania in 2021. This is on top of a slew of other dangerous pollutants released at the Clairton Coke Works, such as particulate matter (linked to breathing problems and premature death), hydrogen cyanide (a reproductive toxin), and mercury (a developmental toxin).

We were excited to see the EPA’s proposal to implement stronger pollution limits for the Clairton Coke Works, the Monessen coke plant and 12 similar facilities located across the country. 

The new rule will: 

* Reduce pollution linked to cancer, asthma and other health problems;

* Establish new limits on previously unregulated emissions of at least 15 forms of hazardous pollution, including mercury (a developmental toxin), hydrogen cyanide (a reproductive toxin), and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (a carcinogen); and

*Require increased monitoring for cancer-causing benzene, which would give regulators and the public an important tool for ensuring facilities like the Clairton Coke Works are complying with their legally-mandated pollution limits.

To be even more effective at ratcheting down these unsafe emissions, the rule should classify repeated or severe violations of the benzene limit as high-priority violations. This will streamline the enforcement process, making it easier for regulators and the public to hold polluters accountable and clean up any dangerous illegal pollution.

This proposal would go a long way to cleaning up the Clairton Coke Works and protecting public health in the Pittsburgh region and communities downwind of similar facilities nationwide.  We ask that you move forward with the strongest rule possible, as quickly as possible.


State Officials

State Senator Amanda Cappelletti

State Senator Lindsey Williams

State Senator Carolyn Comitta

State Senator Nikil Saval

State Representative Dan Frankel

State Representative Greg Vitali

State Representative Nancy Guenst

State Representative La’Tasha Mayes

State Representative Danielle Friel Otten

State Representative Christina Sappey

State Representative Mandy Steele

State Representative Abigail Salisbury

Local Officials

Chester County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz

Clarks Green Borough Council President David Rinaldi

Baldwin Councilwoman Erin Brown

Edgewood Council Member Moshe Sherman

Borough of Coopersburg Council President Diederik Terlaak Poot

Oxford Borough Council President Kathryn Cloyd

Hatboro Borough Council Member Alex Myers

Churchill Borough Mayor Paul Gamrat

Bellevue Borough Council President Jodi Cerminara

Lower Gwynedd Supervisor Tessie McNeely

Upper Moreland Township Commissioner Cheryl Lockard

Rankin Borough Mayor Joelisa McDonald

Etna Councilmember Alice Gabriel

Allegheny County Council Member Anita Prizio

Conshohocken Borough Mayor Yaniv Aronson

Valley Township Supervisor Sharon Yates

Bridgeport Borough Mayor Beth Jacksier

Pittsburgh City Council Member Barb Warwick

Hatboro Borough Mayor Tim Schultz

Pittsburgh City Council Member Erika Strassburger

Media Borough Council Member Kevin Boyer

Lower Providence Township Supervisor Gary Neights

Springfield Township Commissioner Jim Lee

Morton Borough Council Member Joseph Boylan

Etna Borough Councilwoman Jessica Semler

Allegheny County Council Member Paul Klein

Churchill Council Member Deb Klein

West Norriton Township Commissioner Martin Miller

Franklin Park Borough Council Member Uday Palled


Zach Barber

Clean Air Advocate, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Zachary leads PennEnvironment’s Clean Air for Pittsburgh campaign, working with community leaders, public officials and coalition partners to curb Pittsburgh’s air pollution. Zachary has run a canvass office registering thousands of underrepresented voters, helped Pittsburghers have their voices heard on climate, and organized a statewide citizen advocacy day. Zachary lives in Pittsburgh, where he enjoys reading sci-fi novels and watching the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ellie Kerns

Climate Field Organizer, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Ellie works on PennEnvironment's climate change campaign and helps move forward climate initiatives. She lives in Philadelphia, where she enjoys photography and gardening.

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