American Lung Association Releases List of the Nation's Most Polluted Cities - Middletown makes the Top 10 list AGAIN!

The American Lung Association released its annual report on air quality, State of the Air 2011, which includes a list of the nation’s most polluted metropolitan areas.

Go to to review the data.

Rankings for Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, Ohio-Ky.-Ind.
• Ranked 16 for high ozone days out of 277 metropolitan areas
• Ranked 43 for 24-hour particle pollution out of 277 metropolitan areas
• Ranked 9 for annual particle pollution out of 277 metropolitan areas

SunCoke Watch, Inc. and the City of Monroe Win a Ruling from Franklin County Court of Appeals against SunCoke

Attached is the Franklin County Court of Appeals ruling issued on April 7, 2011. Both SunCoke Watch, Inc. and the City of Monroe independent of each other filed appeals in the Court of Appeals in response to ERAC's decision to dismiss their appeals on the first netting permit issued to SunCoke.

ERAC had dismissed those appeals on the first netting permit when the NSR permit was issued and was unwilling to state that the permit was permanently void and unable to be revived. They also were unwilling to state that the right to appeal the first netting permit would still exist if SunCoke wanted to use the first netting permit if for some reason they no longer could utilize the NSR permit. Due to these legal holes still existing, the need to appeal was necessary.

The court clearly stated that should that circumstance arise, that the right to appeal would still exist.

USEPA issues Numerous Notices of Violation to Multiple SunCoke Energy Facilities since May, 2010

Attached are multiple Notices of Violation, which have been issued to SunCoke's Haverhill North, Gateway Energy and Coke Company and Indiana Harbor Coke Company by USEPA Region 5 since May, 2010. An NOV issued by Portsmouth Local Air Agency and SunCoke's response letter are also attached.

AK Steel to close Ashland, Kentucky Coke Plant

AK Steel Corp. announced today, Dec. 28 it is permanently closing its Ashland, Ky., coke plant next year. The West Chester Twp.-based steel maker currently has 263 hourly and salaried employees at the coke plant, which produced the blast furnace fuel for AK’s iron and steel making facility in Ashland, according to AK. It is being closed because the coke facility is no longer cost competitive due to increased maintenance costs and environmental regulations, officials said.


News of the coke plant’s imminent shutdown didn’t come as a total shock. A Nov. 1 filing by AK Steel with the Securities & Exchange Commission listed the plant’s closing as a possibility due to the cost of complying with the environmental regulations.

The report stated the Environmental Protection Agency and the company haven’t reached a final agreement about how to deal with notices of violation of EPA regulations on July 23, 2007, and Dec. 9, 2008.

Bringing the plant into compliance with the EPA would require extensive improvements, which would cost the company approximately $50 million over several years, the filing stated.

The EPA’s website lists the coke plant’s violation of the Clean Air Act as a high priority violation and states that the plant has been in non-compliance with the act for the past 12 business quarters, or about three years.

Another signal that the Ashland plant was on borrowed time came in September of last year, when AK Steel signed an agreement to purchase coke from SunCoke Energy’s Haverhill North Coke Company plant in Franklin Furnace for at least 12 years. The agreement calls for the Ohio facility to furnish AK Steel up to 550,000 tons of metallurgical coke a year.

Politics v. Law - "The politics are against us" (Letter to the Editor by Chuck Inwood)

Alan McCoy’s recent letter brilliantly showcases his skill at spinning a story in which the law prevails over politics. While he promotes the construction of a major new source of pollution, he has the nerve to blame Monroe for the changes to the plant that Middletown Coke has been forced to make by a court of law. He knows that, by law, the Ohio EPA is not permitted to consider location in evaluating a permit application. He knows that was a decision for local politicians.

Elected officials and the various agencies filled with their appointees seem to treat the law as a minor inconvenience as they serve their traditional patrons. Republicans appear to be beholden to Fortune 500 companies and Democrats seem loathe to disappoint organized labor.

Unfortunately, the opponents of this plant are not a significant constituency to any of the elected officials working so hard to ram this project through. We have been forced, as a result and at great expense, to take refuge in the law. Indeed, we are fortunate Monroe City Council has been so determined to protect residents from the 2,000-plus tons of pollution this plant would generate every year it operates.

The Middletown Journal’s article “SunCoke in limbo after court reversal” nicely demonstrates what many opponents have been saying for some time. We hold that, while the law is on our side, the politics are against us. The Ohio Supreme Court’s finding that the Ohio Power Siting Board erred is further evidence of that injustice. Middletown Coke’s withdrawal of its application, rather than actually face an evaluation of environmental impact and consideration of alternate locations, is par for the course.

Lisa Frye: Fight against SunCoke plant is not a game

I was in disbelief at the latitude some have taken to justify the construction of a highly polluting coke-making facility – a facility permitted, when functioning, to emit more than 2,000 tons of pollution in the air per year – when I heard a local city official state, “You can’t get everything out of the air.” Not long after, it was reported that the noise in nearby neighborhoods was the same decibel as conversational speech or an air-conditioner — a comparison that can hardly be taken seriously,

Additionally, AK Steel spokesman Alan McCoy recently made reference to our legal fight as a “protracted and unsuccessful gambit.” The guilty parties are SunCoke and AK Steel who have used their power and money to manipulate government process at the expense of families. If the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency had fulfilled its mandate, no one would have to spend time and money standing up for what the law has deemed necessary. Since it has refused to do so, the citizens have been forced to stand in the legal gap.

On the heels of the Ohio Supreme Court decision, which reversed the Ohio Power Siting Board’s decision to give SunCoke a permit to produce 50 megawatts or more of electricity, Middletown Coke withdrew its application. The company would have had the responsibility to go back to the board and try to prove that the plant was sited in a way that “represents the minimum adverse environmental impact.” Given that its current location is in the midst of an elementary school, retirement village and residential area, the company must have known it would have great difficulty justifying this irresponsible decision.

Instead of meeting the legal requirement, the company is reportedly redesigning the facility to avoid their legal responsibility to the community.

Middletown Coke Withdraws Ohio Power Siting Board Application

On the heels of the Ohio Supreme Court decision, Middletown Coke withdraws their Ohio Power Siting Board application. It seems they have no desire to answer questions regarding location and environmental impact, which the Ohio Supreme Court deemed legally necessary. SunCoke would have had the responsibility to go back to the Ohio Power Siting Board and try to prove that the plant was sited in a way that “represents the minimum adverse environmental impact.”

Their current location is in the middle of an elementary school, retirement village and residential area - a location which has the most adverse effect on children, elderly and families.

Attached is the withdrawal notice filed on December 3, 2010.

Monroe wins battle in war over Middletown coke plant - Fox 19 Story

MIDDLETOWN (FOX19) - The City of Monroe has won the latest round in the legal fight over the new SunCoke plant being built next to the AK Steel plant on the south end of Middletown near the Monroe border.

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Monroe, which had asked that the Ohio Power Siting Board be required to look at the environmental impact of coke production before agreeing to allow an included power plant to be built.


Read the Supreme Court ruling attached below.

Supreme Court reverses board's decision on SunCoke

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Ohio Power Siting Board erred by denying it had jurisdiction to review the environmental impact of coke ovens that are to be part of an electric power “cogeneration station” of the SunCoke plant being built of Yankee Road.

In a 4-1 decision, the court reversed the siting board’s approval of the siting of the $360 million facility without considering the environmental impact of the coke ovens. The court remanded SunCoke’s application to the siting board for further proceedings to determine whether the proposed facility “represents the minimum adverse environmental impact,” according to the ruling.


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