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EPA partially grants Granite City petition

Keywords: Tags  U.S. Steel, Granite City Works, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois EPA, operating permits, emissions, blast furnace, coke ovens Gateway Energy & Coke

CHICAGO — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator has partially granted a petition from the American Bottom Conservancy, which had objected to numerous provisions of an operating permit issued to U.S. Steel Corp.’s Granite City Works by the Illinois EPA.

The environmental group’s petition alleged that the permit’s use of emission factors failed to provide periodic monitoring meant to ensure compliance with permit limits and lacked practical enforceability, failed to respond to an EPA order regarding excess emissions associated with start-up, breakdowns and malfunctions, and failed to respond to an EPA order to include applicable requirements from the related construction permit for the Gateway Energy & Coke Co. plant.

The EPA administrator directed the Illinois EPA to specify emission factors or equations that U.S. Steel intends to use to demonstrate compliance with emission limits and how compliance will be determined, or specify an alternative periodic monitoring methodology in the permit, and suggested the Illinois EPA revise language in the permit to clarify emission limits.

The EPA also agreed that U.S. Steel’s application for permission to continue operating during start-up, breakdowns and malfunction events did not include all the information required by the state implementation plan.

The Illinois EPA now must specify what needs to be included in the permit covering measures undertaken to minimize emissions during start-ups and breakdowns.

But the EPA ruled that the state’s monitoring of the facility’s coke oven gas flares, blast furnace casthouse opacity, blast furnace gas flares and slab reheat furnace opacity were all sufficient, and rejected the final objection because the state EPA will issue a separate Clean Air Act permit for the Gateway coke plant.

Gateway and Pittsburgh-based steelmaker U.S. Steel broke ground on the coke plant in May 2008 (, May 6, 2008), and the plant started up in 2009, according to Gateway parent SunCoke Energy Inc. The facility, which cost an estimated $63.8 million to build, has 120 ovens capable of producing 650,000 tons per year.

U.S. Steel and Gateway Energy could not be reached for comment.

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