The following quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. summarizes the position SunCoke Watch Inc. has taken consistently over the last 18 months:
“Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
Expediency asks the question - is it political?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?
There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, popular, nor political; but because it is right.”
Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC) issues Notice and Cancellation of Hearing; Federal Lawsuit filed by the City of Monroe is dismissed on policy grounds, not due to the merits of the case
On August 19, 2009, the Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC) issued a Notice and Cancellation of Hearing on the appeals filed on the Middletown Coke Company netting permit-to-install. The Notice states "To comply with amendments to Ohio Revised Code ("R.C.") 3745.05(F) adopted in the biennial budget bill, please be advised that the de novo hearing scheduled in the above-captioned matter is hereby cancelled. Further, any existing deadlines and proceedings currently scheduled in this action are suspended. To conform to the mandate..., this matter will be scheduled for a one hour de novo hearing, to be held after January 1, 2010...A written order affirming, vacating, or modifying the action appealed from will be issued by the Commission no later than July 15, 2010."
Layman translation: This hearing was scheduled in February 2010 for one full week of testimony for the appeals filed. It is impossible for the citizens who oppose permits issued by the Ohio EPA to have due process with only one hour allotted for such a hearing. Numerous other ERAC appeals pending in the state of Ohio are also effected by this bill, not just those appeals involving the Middletown Coke permit.
On August 20, 2009, Judge Dlott dismissed the federal lawsuit filed by the City of Monroe against Middletown Coke Company.
The Order states:
Seems Mr. Golembeski isn’t in touch with the actual practice of his Haverhill North Coke Company owned by Sunoco/SunCoke. Following are his statements in the paper on 7/29/09:
“As we’ve said all along, we are pursuing the New Source Review permit to eliminate any doubt about the project’s environmental permitting. We are committed to operating all of our facilities in a safe, reliable and environmentally sound manner,” said Thomas Golembeski, spokesman for SunCoke.
As you can see from reviewing the attached documents, Haverhill has once again had difficulty maintaining compliance. This was only 10 days prior to OEPA issuing the NSR draft permit to SunCoke for the Middletown facility. By law, they have to certify that all of their facilities in the state are in compliance for NSR permitting.
Additionally, Heather Lauer, OEPA spokeswoman, stated in the paper on 7/30/09 that “They have to be able to certify at the time they send the letter that they are now in compliance. They can go out of compliance again, but at the time we receive the letter they have to certify the plant is in compliance,” she said.
Based on the plethora of violations issued to HNCC, it seems they may have difficulty finding a DAY they can issue a letter stating SunCoke is in compliance!
Separating Spin from Reality
SunCoke, a subsidiary of Sunoco, and AK Steel propose to build a 100 oven coke making plant on the border of Monroe would have you believe that there will be no harmful effect to our community. The well-funded supporters of the project ask you to focus on the jobs they claim will result and they throw around terms like “green” and “environmentally friendly.”
Breaking News: The Ohio EPA is now attempting to re-write rules that are protective of human health to make it easier for these two Fortune 500 Companies to make the air in Butler County more hazardous.
Here are some of the most common arguments supporters make and the REALITY:
Supporters say the project has been approved by the EPA – It is true the EPA has issued a permit, which we believe is flawed. More importantly, the supporters want you to assume the EPA considers all aspects of a proposed project including its location. The Truth Is – The Law Prevents the EPA from Considering the Location of the Plant – The EPA is not allowed to weigh the impact this plant would have on the children attending Amanda Elementary School, the frail residents of Garden Manor Retirement Village or the families residing in surrounding neighborhoods.
CLICK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD THE FLYER (PDF)
Butler County is rated as one of the highest cancer risk areas in the nation and is coded in BLACK on the map.
A meeting with HCDES and the OEPA regarding proposed locations of air monitors for the Middletown Coke Company project occurred on June 25th. Although Middletown Coke is currently not constructing and is pursuing a new permit, the EPA has to proceed with the locations of the monitors since they have a permit-to-install. The EPA states this is the first time they've required ambient air monitors in a permit, which further confirms that a coke plant proposed in the middle of an elementary school, nursing home and residential area is by no means a typical scenario. Further, Middletown Coke will know the schedule of the monitoring samples since they are every 3rd, 6th and 12th day, which the EPA confirmed could allow the facility to alter operations to lower monitored emissions. For more information, go to http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/middletown-news/suncoke-air-monito....
SunCoke Watch Inc was in attendance at AK Steel Shareholder Meeting on Thursday, May 28th in Chicago
The AK Steel Stockholder meeting was held on Thursday, May 28th in Chicago at the Ritz-Carlton and SunCoke Watch Inc was in attendance.
You can listen to the meeting, which was about ½ hour long at www.aksteel.com. On the Home Page, is a tab to click on for the meeting. At the end of the meeting, was a question and answer session in which an opportunity was given to ask questions. Please take a few minutes of your time and listen to the dialogue for informational purposes.
It appears that the promise of jobs and a company’s specific circumstances seem to be dictating rule and policy at the OEPA at the expense of our children, elderly and families – not just in our community, but in the entire state of Ohio!
The Ohio EPA is in the process of changing some of their existing state rules and the changes are listed on their website in draft form. The following are three that stand out: • In rule 3745-31-01, the OEPA is redefining the contemporaneous five year period for netting purposes. • In rule 3745-31-22, the OEPA wants to give the director the discretion to issue a permit even before a company submits their pollution offsets. Middletown Coke has submitted their application for the New Source Review permit, but not given information to the OEPA on their offsets. • In rule 3745-31-33, the OEPA is changing what site preparation activities are allowed before receiving a permit to install. The fact is that the only change to the rule involves the piping and culvert allegations that SunCoke Watch reported to the EPA last September. The specific issues that we reported regarding non-compliance are the very thing that is changed in the rule. The OEPA draft rules are on their website – the link is http://www.epa.state.oh.us/dapc/regs/regs.html. You can also get to it by going to http://www.epa.state.oh.us/, clicking on “air” at the top and then clicking on “rules and laws” on the left side. The section stating all of the draft rules, which apply to us, is 3745-31-01 through -33.
The USEPA issued a Notice and Finding of Violation to Haverhill North Coke Company on 4/15/09. This was a second notice issued by the USEPA within a few months period of time. "HNCC exceeded its allowable rolling twelve-month bypass vent operating limit for units P901 and P902 nonrecovery coke oven batteries, resulting in 165 total rolling months of violation since the plant began operating in March 2005. According to its response to a recent USEPA information request, HNCC reported a total of 354 tons of S02 exceeding the 192 ton permit limit, and 22 tons of excess PM emissions exceeding the 10.8 ton permit limit from bypass vents in 2007, and 33 instances when more than one bypass vent was simultaneously open since 2005." (Email from Region 5 to Cindy Charles in Portsmouth, OH dated 4/16/09 obtained during a record review in Portsmouth on 4/27/09).
Oxford Press, Sunday, March 15, 2009
Alleged emissions violations at SunCoke Energy's Haverhill, Ohio, facility have cast a shadow of doubt for some over the company's capability to operate responsibly at their new Middletown plant currently under construction.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sent a notice of violation to SunCoke for allegedly emitting excess sulfur dioxide from its P901 Haverhill plant. The facility is similar to the one to open in Butler County.