On Tuesday, September 6, 2011, the Ohio Supreme Court heard the oral arguments on issues related to the rezoning of the Bake/Martin farmland by the City of Middletown. Many of the Ohio Supreme Court justices made some VERY pointed comments to the City of Middletown's attorney, echoing concerns expressed over the last 3 1/2 years by those opposing the construction of the SunCoke facility in the middle of a school, nursing home and residential area.
There was a similar, but different case in Blanchester, also heard before the Middletown case, which is referenced in the Middletown oral arguments. That link is also available.
AK was just issued one of the attached Notices of Violation on August 3, 2011. Contained in the document are the following statements:
"From March, 2011 through June 1, 2011, AK Steel reported 1,556 exceedances of the twenty percent opacity limit, as a six-minute average, exiting the combustion stack at the Wilputte Battery."
"AK submitted records of Method 9 visible emissions observations conducted at the Wilputte Battery pushing operations for the period between August, 2006 and February 2, 2011. The records showed 2,390 exceedances of the twenty percent opacity limit for pushing operations read above the battery top."
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 www.stateoftheair.org 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.
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 (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.
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.
Monroe Attorney: Ohio Supreme Court Sides with Monroe
Wednesday, December 01, 2010 3:43:40 PM - Monroe Ohio
For your information, yesterday the Ohio Supreme Court issued its decision in Monroe’s appeal of the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) certificate to Middletown Coke. The Court, in a 5-1 vote, agreed with Monroe’s argument that the OPSB should have considered the environmental effects of all coke plant equipment involved in electricity generation, not just the electric cogeneration equipment. The Court reversed the OPSB’s order, which effectively terminates MCC’s certificate to build the plant, and remanded the case to the OPSB.
As you know, the Middletown Coke project includes an electrical cogeneration station that would use steam from the coke plant to generate electricity. Because the electrical generating capacity of the plant exceeded 50 MW, the plant is required to obtain a certificate from the OPSB prior to beginning construction. Middletown Coke has described the cogeneration station as essential to the viability of the overall facility.
Monroe intervened in the OPSB case, arguing that the OPSB must consider the entire coke plant—not just the electrical generating equipment—and therefore must evaluate the environmental impact of the 2,000+ tons of pollution that the coke plant would emit each year. The OPSB disagreed and considered only the cogeneration equipment, which it claimed was a “zero-emission facility.” The OPSB refused to consider the environmental impacts of the coke-making processes that would generate the steam necessary to produce electricity. As a result, OPSB prevented Monroe from conducting discovery or presenting evidence concerning the impacts of, or alternative sites for, the overall coke plant.
SunCoke Watch and City of Monroe file Appeals in Franklin County Court of Appeals following ERAC's Denial of the City of Monroe's Motion for Clarification
Attached are four documents for your review: Monroe's Motion for Clarification, SunCoke, AK Steel and the OEPA’s Joint Response to Monroe’s Motion for Clarification, SunCoke Watch, Inc.’s memo of support and Monroe’s subsequent response.
To summarize, Monroe asked the Environmental Appeals Commission to state that the netting permit (1st permit) is truly moot and would be unable to be resurrected if/when the New Source Review permit is overturned. The Commission stated it was void, but didn’t speak to what would happen in that instance.
ERAC has denied the City of Monroe's clarification request, which has resulted in SunCoke Watch and the City of Monroe filing separate appeals with the Franklin County Court of Appeals. Appealing to the court was necessary in order to ensure that justice is served and that our ability to challenge the first netting permit still exists if our opponents ever attempted to fall back on that permit with a defeat of the NSR permit in court. As it stands now, our appeals have been dismissed, but ERAC has been unwilling to state that the first netting permit is permanently void/moot regardless of what happens with the NSR permit. Initially we were encouraged by ERAC’s willingness to define supersede as void, but after further legal evaluation the definition wasn’t taken far enough for our legal comfort.
If our opponents would ever choose to resurrect the first netting permit and our appeals were not in existence for our “day in court,” then SunCoke could potentially be allowed to construct and function under that first permit without any legal challenge in a court of law due to ERAC's decision rendered without addressing what would happen in this instance.
The attachments are self explanatory.
I went back and found this quote from SunCoke: