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 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
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
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.
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.