Environmentalists are taking legal action against United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel) because of pollution in Pittsburg’s Mon Valley. The Clean Air Council and PennEnvironment are suing the steel manufacturer for violating the Clean Air Act after a fire broke out at a facility in Clairton, Pennsylvania.

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“We cannot expect families to sustain this kind of health burden and trauma, and we cannot expect kids to learn, grow and flourish when they are confined to their homes, unable to breathe,” the head of PennEnvironment, Ashleigh Deemer, explained in a statement.

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Deemer added that the fire only highlighted ongoing issues at the U.S. Steel factory. The PennEnvironment director said that pollution has affected the health of local residents long before the fire broke out, and significant updates to the plant are needed to remedy the situation.

According to Trib Live, the environmentalists claim the fire made it impossible to filter gas from the facility’s coke oven. The groups believe this violates the Clean Air Act and plan to file a lawsuit if the company refuses to comply. Per the updated legislation, U.S. Steel has 60 days to respond to the notice before the lawsuit is filed.

In order to avoid litigation, U.S. Steel will need to update three different facilities in the Mon Valley region. This includes Clairton Coke Works, Edgar Thomson Plant and Irvin Steel Mill. At the top of its priority list is to ensure gas emissions are properly filtered at each facility.

U.S. Steel acknowledged that it received the notice and is reviewing the options. The company released a statement about complying with local and state officials to ensure its facilities are not damaging the environment. The manufacturer is currently repairing fire damage at the Clairton facility and plans to be running at around 70 percent of its normal volume by mid-March.

Despite the company’s statement, residents in the Mon Valley are unhappy with how U.S. Steel has handled the fire. Residents hope that the lawsuit will push the company to do something about its pollution problem and ultimately improve the quality of air in the region.

Via Trib Live

Image via Olafpictures