Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Residents by Coke Plant Join Potential Lawsuit Arcelormittal Monessen Facility Targeted

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Residents by Coke Plant Join Potential Lawsuit Arcelormittal Monessen Facility Targeted

Article excerpt

Ed Tolliver has lived in Monessen for 15 years, but he says he never had a problem breathing until ArcelorMittal Monessen LLC reopened its coke plant, just a stone's throw from his house, in April of last year.

And Viktoryia Maroz, who lives more than a mile away in Donora, said that even inside her house she can't escape the coke plant's toxic emissions, which smell like a mix of "burning rubber and rotten eggs" and are making her sick.

On Tuesday, Mr. Tolliver and Ms. Maroz joined PennEnvironment at U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh to take what they hope will be the first step toward making the coke plant control the excessive pollution it's emitting in violation of its state permit.

PennEnvironment filed a "notice of intent to sue" with the court that details more than 300 emissions-limit violations since the plant was reopened 16 months ago by ArcelorMittal Inc.

David Masur, executive director of PennEnvironment, said the coke plant emissions shower communities in Washington and Westmoreland counties daily with soot, acidic gases and noxious odors.

"We've met with local residents from towns around the plant, in Monessen, Donora, Monongahela and Carroll Township, and listened to stories about the air pollution that are just gut-wrenching," said Mr. Masur, executive director of PennEnvironment. "Ever since the Monessen coke plant reopened last year, local residents have had their quality of life diminished, endured ongoing odors and soot and have had to fear for their health and the health of their families. This is appalling and unacceptable."

In addition, the notice alleges that the coke plant has operated for weeks at a time while key pollution control equipment was inoperable, and failed to install a required hydrogen sulfide monitor on its smokestacks.

The official court filing, a requirement under the citizen suit provisions of the federal Clean Air Act, gives a 60-day notice to the company, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the U. …

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