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U.S. Steel Answers Federal Lawsuit Filed By Enviro Groups, ACHD; Denies Residents Living Near Facilities ‘Adversely Affected By Alleged Illegal Pollutant Emissions’

U.S. Steel this week filed its answers and affirmative defenses to a federal citizens lawsuit filed against it in April in U.S. District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania by the nonprofit groups Penn Environment and Clean Air Council for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. In June, the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) successfully moved to intervene in the case.

In legal documents filed Tuesday, attorneys for U.S. Steel asked the court to enter the judgment in the company’s favor, along with court costs and other “further relief as this court deems appropriate.

In its answers, U.S. Steel is clear in its denial of the allegations set forth in the suit, and further stated that it denied, “that individuals who live or rent property near its Clairton, Edgar Thomson, and Irvin Plants were adversely affected by alleged illegal pollutant emissions from the plants.”

Attorneys for the multi-billion international steel-making company raised a number of issues, alleging among other things that:

  • Penn Environment and Clean Air Council failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
  • That the two environmental agencies “lack capacity to sue of the requisite standing” to pursue the claims made in the lawsuit.
  • That the two environmental groups’ 60-day notice of their intent to sue was “inadequate” and did not comply with federal requirements.
  • That the complaint should be barred because it is “based on emergency conditions or conditions outside of U.S. Steel’s reasonable control.”
  • That the complaint should be barred because it is “based on the terms of prior orders that are applicable to U.S. Steel and it’s Mon Valley Works facilities” and because they are also based on “the terms of the applicable permits, SIP, and local, state and federal regulations.
  • That ACHD has no statutory or regulatory basis for its claims under federal statute or its own rules and regulations.

Need a refresher on what claims Penn Environment, Clean Air Council, and ACHD raised in the suit? GASP wrote about the suit and its allegations, and also about Allegheny County’s successful motion to intervene.

Editor’s Note: You can read U.S. Steel’s answers to the lawsuit here and here. Coverage from the Pittsburgh Business Times can be accessed here. Coverage from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Don Hopey can be viewed here.

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