PITTSBURG, Pa.— NELC attorneys have finalized, and submitted for public comment and court approval, a comprehensive consent decree with ArcelorMittal in settlement of hundreds of air pollution violations at the company’s Monessen, Pa. coal refining facility (coke plant). The federal Clean Air Act lawsuit was filed in 2015, on behalf of PennEnvironment, to prevent illegal air pollution from raining down on residents who live in the nearby neighborhoods of Monessen, Donora, Monongahela and Carroll Township. Individuals and their homes have been showered with soot, acidic gases and noxious odors from the day that Arcelor re-started the decades-old facility in 2014.
“This settlement agreement will be a critical step in helping to protect residents of the Mon Valley from dangerous air pollution,” stated PennEnvironment Executive Director David Masur. “Having clean air is a right, not a privilege, and we’re glad to do our part to help protect local residents in and around Monessen from illegal pollution.”
NELC, ArcelorMittal, and state and federal agencies have negotiated a $1.5 million penalty (the largest in state history) for past violations of the facility’s pollution limits for hydrogen sulfide (a toxic gas with a foul odor), sulfur dioxide (a respiratory irritant and contributor to acid rain), and particulate matter (which can lodge in the lungs and exacerbate respiratory problems).Other settlement terms include plant-wide environmental upgrades, improved communications with the public, enhanced monitoring of emissions, and a $300,000 clean vehicle program for surrounding communities.
“When I was working with NELC and PennEnvironment, I felt like they truly understood what I was going through and experiencing. And that I wasn’t alone,” said local resident Viktoryia Maroz, who participated in the lawsuit. “I look forward to seeing a difference in the air quality after this historic settlement.”