How Does Butler County Air Quality Stack Up Nationally?

And this is BEFORE SunCoke builds its proposed plant....

OK, so we know Butler County is in the top 10% band in the nation for pollution. Who is responsible for most of it? Click through the different types of air pollution with the drop down on this page:

USA Today Smokestack Effect story on Middletown

USA Today has an ongoing investigative story entitled The Smokestack Effect. On December 30, 2008, SunCoke Watch was on the front page of the issue with a story on Amanda Elementary and the concerns of locating the proposed SunCoke coke plant, which would emit approximately 2,700 tons of pollution in the air adjacent to the school.

2008 Timeline of Events for Proposed SunCoke Coke Plant in Middletown, OH

How'd we get to where we are?

FEBRUARY, 2008 - Announcement in Middletown Journal of the proposed SunCoke 100 oven coke plant in Middletown, OH on virgin farmland on the border of Middletown and Monroe, Ohio in between Amanda Elementary School, Garden Manor Retirement Village and well established neighborhoods.  The plan was to rezone the Bake and Martin farmland from low density to heavy industrial to accomodate SunCoke and AK Steel's business venture.  The coke batteries at that time were planned to be located at the Hamilton-Middletown Rd. (Rt. 4) end of the rezoned land directly behind Garden Manor.

MARCH, 2008 - City of Middletown Planning Commission meetings were held and the farmland was rezoned industrial unanimously.

APRIL, 2008 - Stay Inside The Fence was formed under the direction of Garden Manor Retirement Village with the collaboration of surrounding neighbors and community members in opposition to the proposed site.

SunCoke Watch Inc. pickets in opposition to the Middletown Coke rally.

MAY, 2008 - City of Middletown City Council unanimously approved the rezoning of the land with virtually no discussion following hours of testimony regarding environmental and health concerns from those opposing the coke plant.

The Story Untold

The Story Untold

The entire picture of the proposed Suncoke plant and how it truly will affect people - human beings - not just the dollar bill - individuals, who are the most vulnerable like children and the elderly, seem to be glossed over by some. It's not about it just being in our backyard. The mere threat of the plant has already caused damage to numerous families financially. Some need to quit being so small minded - we are way beyond that NIMBY issue. We can see beyond the dollar bill unlike some. Stories have continued to be slanted and information purposely left out that would bring to light another side of this story. If some continue to chalk up the issues to ‘NIMBY," only "a very small number" and the need for "jobs," they can strategically attempt to avoid the real issues at hand. For this reason, I offer the following additional information that has come to light over the last year since the coke plant was proposed:

Students risk breathing toxic air


No standards, little monitoring here or across US

By Blake Morrison and Brad Heath • USA Today • December 8, 2008

ADDYSTON - The growl of air-monitoring equipment has replaced the chatter of children at Meredith Hitchens Elementary School in this suburb along the Ohio River.


The Three Rivers Local School District closed Hitchens three years ago, after air samples outside the building showed high levels of chemicals coming from a plastics plant across the street. The Ohio EPA concluded the risk of getting cancer was 50 times higher than what the state considers acceptable.

The air outside 435 other U.S. schools - including at least three others in Bond Hill and Elmwood Place - appears to be even worse, according to an eight-month investigation by USA Today.




USA Today's interactive report lets you find the ranking of pollution at your school.

Download Cincinnati Enquirer's pdf "Smokestack Effect" showing local schools at risk in the top 1%, including Amanda Elementary and Mayfield Elementary in Middletown.



A Next Step: The Environmental Review Appeals Commission

The Environmental Review Appeals Commission, also known as ERAC, is an appellate review commission which is separate and distinct from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.  The Environmental Review Appeals Commission hears appeals pursuant to Chapter 3745 of the Ohio Revised Code.  According to Section 3745.04 of the revised code:

                ...Any person who was a party to a proceeding before the Director may participate in an appeal to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission for an order vacating or modifying the action fo the Director of Environmental Protection or local Board of Health to perform an act.  The Environmental  Review Appeals Commission has exclusive original jurisdiction over any matter which may, under this section be brought before it...

                 The appeal shall be filed...within thirty days after notice of the action. [Emphasis Added].

According to Section 3745.07 of the Revised Code:

                 ...If the Director issues, denies, modifies, revokes, or reviews a permit, license, or variance without issuing a proposed action, an officer of an agency of the state or of a political sub-division, acting in a representative capacity, or any person who would be aggrieved or adversely affected thereby, may appeal to the Environmental Review Appeals Commissioni, within thrity days of the issuance, denial, modification, revocation, or renewal. [emphasis added].

                             The Environmental Review Appeals Commission

Sierra Club Questions Validity of Permit's Netting Timeframe

Alexander J. Sagady & Associates
657 Spartan Avenue, East Lansing, MI 48823-3624
(517) 332-6971

August 19, 2008
Ms. Cheryl Newton, Director -Acting
Air and Radiation Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Region V
Chicago, IL

RE: Middletown [OH] Coke Company & Ohio EPA Division of Air Pollution Control -
Violation of Netting Requirements for a Draft Air Permit and Impermissible Minor
Source Permitting of a Major Stationary Source

Dear Ms. Newton:

We are writing on behalf of the Sierra Club of Ohio concerning the proposed Middletown Coke
Company Draft Air Permit to Install that has been published by the Ohio EPA. The public
comment period on the application and draft permit are presently running.

This communication is intended as an air pollution complaint against Middletown Coke Company
and the State of Ohio. The complaint is that those respondents have either applied for or plan to
approve a plainly impermissible and unlawful minor modification air permit to install for

Middletown Coke Company. In reality, what is planned here is the impermissible construction of a
major stationary source of emissions without the required major modification/source permit
covering both prevention of significant deterioration and nonattainment NSR program requirements.
Middletown Coke Company proposes 100 heat recovery coke ovens arranged in 3 batteries, along
with quenching, materials handling and other related operations at a site in Middletown, OH near
AK Steel. The Applicant is seeking a permit to install on the basis of the Applicant’s claim that the
proposed coke oven batteries would be a minor modification, net-out source.

Middletown Council Meeting - August 19, 2008

Middletown City Council has approved with a vote of 6-0 both new zoning setbacks (so that the plant will not have to use the 600 ft. setback) and the rezoning of the Martin Farm from low-density residential to Industrial.

See the video of the meeting here:

Ohio EPA News Release, Aug. 14, 2008

FOR RELEASE: August 14, 2008
CONTACT: Heather Lauer, (614) 644-2160

Ohio EPA Offers Guidelines for Testifying at the Middletown Coke Hearing

Opponents work with Sierra Club to oppose coke plant

By Ed Richter Middletown Journal - Staff Writer Saturday, August 09, 2008 MIDDLETOWN — Although the "Stay Inside the Fence" committee is being disbanded now that Garden Manor Extended Care Center has dropped its support and lawsuit against the city of Middletown and SunCoke Energy Inc., a group of Monroe residents who live adjacent to the proposed $340 million cokemaking and electric generation plant continue to oppose the project. Nearly 40 residents attended a meeting at the Monroe Firehouse on Ohio 4 on Thursday, Aug. 7, to meet with Sierra Club representatives to discuss their options during the permit process with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The Ohio EPA will hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at Miami University Middletown. READ MORE

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