Prove your humanity

The Allegheny County Health Department has fined U.S. Steel $360,000 for air pollution violations at the company’s Clairton Coke Works committed during a six-month stretch between October 2019 and March 2020. 

The fines were for more than 340 violations outlined by the county in a letter sent to the company about the Clairton plant, the largest coke plant in North America.

As part of a previously reached settlement, the county has ordered the company to pay 90 percent of the fine, $325,260, to a Community Benefit Trust for several communities that surround the facility, which processes coal into coke, a key component of steelmaking. 

Prior to the agreement, the county had issued $3.5 million in fines for the Clairton Coke Works since 2018, including a January fine of $800,000 and a settlement in June 2019 of $2.7 million for violations since 2018. 

US Steel spokeswoman Meghan Cox, in a statement, said the company’s “environmental performance is continuing to improve” and that the company “is currently reviewing” the fines. 

Cox said that the Clairton Coke Works had a “record-breaking” month for environmental compliance in April, when the plant was functioning at a lowered capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

County officials said the plant began operating at decreased production levels due to lower demand. 

This story is produced in partnership with StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration among The Allegheny Front, WPSU, WITF and WHYY to cover the commonwealth's energy economy.