Shenango Violations Lead to New Penalties as GASP Urges Closer Monitoring, Cooperation

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Hotline, Spring 2001

The Environmental Protection Agency recently imposed new fines of $59,500 on Shenango, Inc. for repeated episodes of air pollution at its Neville Island coke works during 2000. Early last year the U. S. District Court had imposed fines of $2.1 million on Shenango for similar offenses over a period of years.

At a meeting January 15 in Avonworth, across the Ohio River from Neville Island, Marie Kocoshis, representing GASP, reported that “complaints of citizens continue to come to our GASP office phone and they are as frequent and angry as ever.” She applauded the new fines and called for continued improvement by Shenango and increased vigilance by the EPA and the Allegheny County Health Department. Here she noted that the ACHD had failed to assess fines on Shenango for the first three quarters of 2000 despite Shenango’s violations, and called for tighter policing.

“We expect a more timely response; we see no reason to delay enforcement when people are suffering and we call for fines on a quarterly basis. This is the very least that we should expect from regulatory agencies whose job it is to protect our health!”

The penalties were levied as GASP was pursuing several initiatives in cooperation with the ACHD, Shenango, and citizens in the vicinity of the Shenango plant. One initiative, proposing the use of ten citizen “smokereaders,” has been approved by the ACHD and its terms are currrently being refined. The others — formation of a Community Oversight Panel, enhanced monitoring of emissions from Neville Island industries, and an environmental audit of the Shenango coke plant’s operations — are being discussed with the parties concerned.

The proposed initiatives would be financed out of the Clean Air Fund of the Allegheny County Health Department.

by David Fowler, GASP Vice President