NELC cooperating attorney Dave Nicholas and NELC attorneys Josh Kratka and Heather Govern at the inspection of ArcelorMittal’s Monessen Coke Plant.

PITTSBURGH, PA—The world’s largest steel company, Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, has agreed to engage in formal settlement negotiations in NELC’s lawsuit charging the company with hundreds of Clean Air Act violations at its Pittsburgh-area coal coke plant.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed in federal court in Pittsburgh in October 2015, NELC Attorneys joined plaintiff PennEnvironment in reaching out to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection (PaDEP) regarding the vast scope of the environmental problems besetting the recently restarted Monessen Coke Plant.

A wide variety of pollution control problems at the plant are causing sootfall, acidic gases, and noxious odors to plague residents of numerous surrounding towns.

This past spring, ArcelorMittal’s attorneys filed a formal “answer” in court to PennEnvironment’s complaint, in which the company admitted to a large proportion of the alleged violations. The parties then agreed to put litigation of the case on hold to allow time for additional investigation of the facility’s problems and settlement negotiations.

In May, NELC attorneys Heather Govern and Josh Kratka went on site to inspect critical areas of the facility along with our consulting engineer, an expert in the operation of coke plants.

Now, actual settlement negotiations have begun. In late July, officials and engineers from EPA and PaDEP joined NELC attorneys in the first settlement meeting with the company. The goal of the negotiations is to develop solutions to bring the plant into sustained compliance with Clean Air Act emissions standards and limitations, and to embody those solutions in a binding agreement.

A section of the coal coking process at ArcelorMittal’s Monessen Coke Plant.