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Our Health Matters: Fenceline Monitoring at Clairton Coke Works NOW:Message to Clairton City Council

June 13, 2023 Clairton City Council Meeting @ 6 pm.

Call to action: If you want the Clairton Coke Works (CCW) to install and operate a fenceline monitoring system surrounding it's facility in Clairton, join us in Clairton City Council Chambers.


Who: VCAN steering Committee members and supporters.

Where: City of Clairton Building, 551 Ravensburg Boulevard, Clairton, PA 15025

Background: Neither the Allegheny County Health Department, nor the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains their own air monitoring equipment at CCW. Both agencies must rely upon CCW to self report emission levels of air toxics it generates on site.


On June 13, Clairton residents are expected to tell Council members of excessive benzene levels measured in the Five Boroughs since November, 2021. The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University's Create Labs (Create Labs) have placed nine monitoring stations at the homes of Mon Valley residents looking for benzene. The monitors were read every two weeks by Create Labs.

Two VCAN Steering Committee members had monitors placed at their homes in Glassport and Clairton by EIP and Create Labs. These monitors recorded benzene levels which exceeded the maximum legal limits set by the EPA. EIP sent letters to EPA Region 3 Director Adam Ortiz on December 14, 2022, February 1, 2023 and May 8, 2023. EIP 12-14-21 Letter to US EPA


In these three letters, EIP requested that EPA:

  • immediately inspect, investigate and enforce all necessary relief in the CCW to reduce benzene emissions;

  • require U.S. Steel to install and operate a fenceline monitoring systemand establish a corrective action level for benzene that assures compliance to protect public healty; and

  • exercise permitting oversight of ACHD actions and authority for sources emitting benzene.

The May 8 letter stated: "This letter adds monitoring results for benzene at community monitors in residential areas near U.S. Steel’s Clairton, Irvin, and Edgar Thomson Plants during the two-week sampling periods between January 2, 2023 and April 10, 2023. The recent monitoring results continue to show that communities near U.S.

Steel’s Mon Valley plants are exposed to dangerously high levels of benzene."


Will you join us? We know many residents of Port Vue, Liberty, Lincoln, Glassport and Clairton are disillusioned. Pennsylvanian's state constitution guarantees our rights "to clean air and pure water." However the state government issues air quality alerts almost everyday. If the Air Quality Index is over 110 the outside air is still "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups."


If we have clean air, why does coal soot cover our rches and enter our homes?


PennEnvironment's May 9, 2023 Dirty Dozen Report listed the top 12 sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in our state. The report also stated that Consol Energy Inc. owns three industrial sites listed within the Dirty Dozen. U.S. Steel is also listed as the parent company of two other facilities: the Edgar Thomson Steel Works and Clairton Coke Works.


"Combined, the five Pennsylvania facilities owned by Consol Energy or U.S. Steel produced more than 10 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution in 2021. That is equivalent to about 4% of Pennsylvania’s total statewide emissions in 2020."


CCW contaminates our air and is a major contributor to climate change.


Join us on June 13. Push Clairton City Council to Support Fenceline Monitoring at CCW.

Thank you. Tom Bailey VCAN Steering Committee Secretary

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