U.S. Steel Corp. contended that its Pittsburgh-area facilities’ neighbors didn’t have standing to sue over alleged environmental violations following a 2018 fire that knocked out a plant’s pollution controls for
months, arguing to a federal judge that the offending sulfur and soot could have come from other sources.

U.S. Steel said members of PennEnvironment Inc. and the Clean Air Council hadn’t proven that they had standing to sue under the Clean Air Act for allegedly increased pollution that followed a December 2018 fire at the Clairton, Pa., coke plant because they couldn’t show an injury that was both directly traceable to the steelmaker’s conduct and that the court could fix or redress.

“Traceability requires proof that U.S. Steel’s conduct is the ‘but-for’ cause of their injuries,” said Mark Dausch of Babst Calland Clements and Zomnir PC, representing the company. “We asked the Allegheny County Health Department to identify other sources of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide, and they said there were too many to identify.”

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