Air quality in the Monongahela Valley took a severe hit when ArcelorMittal’s decades-old Monessen Coke Plant, a coal processing facility, restarted operations in 2014. While ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company, was taking in over $80 billion in annual revenue, the Monessen plant was raining black soot, acidic gasses, and foul odors on surrounding towns.
In 2015, NELC filed suit against ArcelorMittal, on behalf of PennEnvironment. to address the Monessen facility’s 226 violations of hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter emission limits, as well as its failure to operate key air pollution controls for days and weeks at a time. Federal and state regulators joined our suit, and after two years of litigation ArcelorMittal agreed to implement sweeping facility upgrades to control its air emissions, pay the highest civil penalty in a Clean Air Act citizen enforcement suit in Pennsylvania history, and fund a $300,000 clean vehicles project for local communities.
For residents of the Mon Valley, a region notorious for its poor air quality and high asthma rates, this settlement proved that fighting for clean air can yield tangible results.