PITTSBURGH—In preparation for trial in their Clean Air Act citizen suit against U.S. Steel, NELC attorneys have been working hard to present our case:
Early disclosure of violations and evidence: U.S. Steel’s three Mon Valley Works facilities operate under Clean Air Act permits specifying dozens of operating requirements, including limits on the emission of pollutants.
Although NELC’s lawsuit, brought on behalf of PennEnvironment and the Clean Air Council, centers on violations of these requirements resulting from a 104-day outage of pollution control equipment at U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works starting in December 2018, it also encompasses shorter outages in June 2019 and July 2022. Each of these outages, in turn, caused violations at the company’s interconnected Irvin and Edgar Thomson steel mills.
To ease the Court’s analysis of the 11,623 alleged Clean Air Act violations resulting from these outages, NELC attorneys produced detailed spreadsheets months before trial, setting forth (a) every permit requirement U.S. Steel violated; (b) every date a violation occurred; and, for many violations, (c) undisputed proof, including data compiled and verified by U.S. Steel. Filing this evidence months ahead of trial put U.S. Steel on notice of the strength of the case against it.
Joint stipulations of fact and joint exhibits: In even the most hotly contested cases, certain foundational facts and documents are beyond dispute. To streamline trial, Judge W. Scott Hardy urged the parties to compile a written list of such facts, to be integrated into trial without witness testimony.
Through months of negotiations with the company’s lawyers, NELC attorneys secured more than 185 stipulations of fact, along with 82 joint exhibits to be immediately admitted into evidence, encompassing everything from key emissions data to powerful videos of the facilities flaring toxic gases during the outage periods.
Pre-trial statement: A road map of what the Court should expect at trial, a Pre-Trial Statement provides an opportunity for a party to frame the strengths of its case. In its February statement, NELC summarized evidence to be offered regarding U.S. Steel’s violations and the impacts on surrounding communities.
The statement further identified 25 witnesses (including seven experts) and 326 exhibits that NELC attorneys plan to present at trial, while announcing their intent to seek a significant penalty and injunctive relief to deter future violations.