Frequently Asked Questions

The questions the media won't answer...

Question Is Middletown Coke Company legally able to construct?

Answer: Yes. Although SunCoke Watch disagrees with the OEPA's issuance of the netting permit in November 2008, Middletown Coke Company does have a valid permit-to-install. Although the City of Monroe has filed a federal lawsuit against Middletown Coke, no court has issued a stay or injunction order to date.

Question: Do the two separate Notice and Findings of violation issued by the USEPA to SunCoke's Haverhill facility have any impact on the current New Source Review permitting process with Middletown Coke.

Answer: Yes. OAC Rule 3745-31-22(A)(2) states “The applicant must certify that all existing stationary sources owned or operated by the applicant (or any entity controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the applicant) in Ohio as the proposed major stationary source or major modification are in compliance with all applicable emission limitations and standards under the Clean Air Act (or are in compliance with an expeditious schedule which is federally enforceable or contained in a court decree.)

Question:  Is Middletown Coke Company constructing?

Answer: Depending on who they are talking to, depends on the answer to that question.  To the local media, they state that they aren't constructing due to the City of Monroe's lawsuit.  At our ERAC status conference on May 7th in Columbus, OH, the attorney for AK Steel stated they had "full rights" to the permit, Middletown Coke's attorney stated "valid PTI" and the Attorney General's office stated that they were "constructing." 

Question:  What is JCARR?

Answer:   The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) was created in 1977.  The committee consists of five State Representatives and five State Senators.  In odd-numbered years, the chairperson is a House member and in even-numbered years, a Senate member.

The primary function of JCARR is to review proposed new, amended, and rescinded rules to ensure the following:

  1. the rules do not exceed the scope of the rule-making agency's statutory authority;
  2. the rules do not conflict with a rule of that agency or another rule-making agency;
  3. the rules do not conflict with the intent of the legislature in enacting the statute under which the rule is proposed; and,
  4. the rule-making agency has prepared a complete and accurate rule summary and fiscal analysis of the proposed rule, amendment, or rescission (RC 127.18) and if the agency has incorporated a text or other material by reference, the agency has not met the standards stated in ORC sections 121.72, 121.75, or 121.76.

Question:  What is New Source Review?

Answer:   Congress established the New Source Review (NSR) permitting program as part of the 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments. NSR is a preconstruction permitting program that serves two important purposes.

  • First, it ensures that air quality is not significantly degraded from the addition of new and modified factories, industrial boilers and power plants. In areas with unhealthy air, NSR assures that new emissions do not slow progress toward cleaner air. In areas with clean air, especially pristine areas like national parks, NSR assures that new emissions do not significantly worsen air quality.
  • Second, the NSR program assures people that any large new or modified industrial source in their neighborhoods will be as clean as possible, and that advances in pollution control occur concurrently with industrial expansion.

NSR permits are legal documents that the facility owners/operators must abide by. The permit specifies what construction is allowed, what emission limits must be met, and often how the emissions source must be operated.