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Monday, April 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

City Tries to Stop Polluting Coke Plant

DAYTON, Ohio (CN) - The City of Monroe claims Middletown Coke and Suncoke Energy are building a polluting coke plant with permits and without mandatory emissions technology. The city claims the plant will spew 1,584 tons of sulfur dioxide and 439 tons of particulates each year, and other noxious chemicals, including mercury.

"Defendants' Coke Plant will annually emit up to 479 tons of nitrogen oxides ('NOx'), 1,584 tons of sulfur dioxide ('SO2'), 129 tons of carbon monoxide ('CO'), and 439 tons of various forms of particulate matter ('PM')," according to the federal complaint. "The Coke Plant will also emit nitrogen dioxide and mercury. The release of these pollutants into the atmosphere will impair air quality locally and far downwind of the Coke Plant. Furthermore, Defendants' Coke Plant will annually emit up to an additional 114 tons of fine particulate (PM2.5) in an air quality region that currently does not comply with the health standard, known as the National Ambient Air Quality Standard ('NAAQS'), for PM2.5. An order of this Court enjoining Defendants from further construction of the Coke Plant until Defendants obtain a permit to install that complies with the PSD [Prevention of Significant Deterioration] and Nonattainment NSR [Nonattainment New Source Review] programs will protect the air breathed by the citizens of the City of Monroe downwind of the proposed Coke Plant, and will ensure that the Butler County region makes reasonable further progress toward attainment of the PM2.5 NAAQS [National Ambient Air Quality Standard]."

The complaint adds: "Despite the health threats from the air pollutants that the Coke Plant will emit, the Defendants plan to install air pollution control equipment at the Coke Plant that is inferior to air pollution controls at other coke plants. The laxity of the Coke Plant's air pollution controls not only provides it with a competitive advantage over other coke plants, but makes it an environmental threat.

"The adverse impact of the Coke Plant has been unnecessarily aggravated by siting it on agricultural land near the doorsteps of Monroe's facilities, residents, and businesses, when it could have been sited on a more distant brownfield site at an industrial complex owned by its sole customer, AK Steel. Monroe's neighborhoods are located less than 2,000 feet from the facility. The prevailing wind direction will convey air contaminants from the Coke Plant into Monroe."

Monroe is represented by Jack Van Kley of Dayton.

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