Mon Valley Air Quality Reaches Unhealthy Levels Again: Clean Water Action Statement

U.S. Steel emissions at Clairton primary cause of severe air pollution event

(Clairton) – Clean Water Action issued a statement this morning alerting residents in the Clairton and surrounding area to unhealthy air quality over the weekend and continuing today.  On both December 21 and 22 air monitoring data on the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) website indicated that the Liberty monitor in the Mon Valley recorded violations of the daily fine particle (PM2.5) standard, with levels almost 50% over the health based standard.

In addition, the Liberty monitor recorded violations of the hydrogen sulfide daily standard on the same days (Dec. 21 and 22), clearly indicating that U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works is the main source of the pollution resulting in unhealthy air levels.

Clean Water Action is calling on U.S. Steel to take immediate action to reduce emissions and production to protect nearby residents, in addition to calling on ACHD to immediately warn residents about this serious health situation.

The following statement is from Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania Director for Clean Water Action:

As we approach the one year anniversary of the fire at U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works, the ongoing pollution problems over the past several days makes clear the problems at this plant have not been addressed.  Since last Friday night levels of fine particles in the Clairton area have reached unhealthy levels which have continued through Monday morning.  These are just the latest in a long history of air pollution violations in the Mon Valley, primarily as a result of U.S. Steel’s inability to run the Clairton Coke Works in compliance with clean air laws.

We are calling on U.S. Steel to take immediate action to protect Clairton and Mon Valley residents by reducing emissions, including through reducing production levels, in order to address this severe air pollution event.

We are calling on the Allegheny County Health Department to immediately issue a warning to residents in Clairton and surrounding communities about the health threat posed by unhealthy air pollution levels.  It is ironic that I can receive an emergency alert on my phone about a snow squall, but not be able to hear anything from our public health officials about a threat to my child’s ability to breathe.

We urge residents in Clairton and the Mon Valley to closely monitor their families’ health condition, especially if they have respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, such as asthma, COPD, or a recent heart attack.  Exposure to the outdoor air should be limited.

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Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration.

 

Myron Arnowitt
412-592-1283
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