Middletown - #18 Worst City for Ozone Pollution in the U.S. - This is before the addition of a SunCoke facility!
List: Worst Cities For Ozone Pollution
18. Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, OH-KY-IN
Total Population: 2,198,337
Pediatric Asthma: 51,712
Adult Asthma: 157,199
Chronic Bronchitis: 72,080
NRDC Files Comments with Ohio EPA on DEGS (formerly P&G) Permit Modification regarding Emission Offsets for SunCoke
Comments have been submitted on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council and SunCoke Watch, Inc. regarding the Ohio EPA's draft administrative modification of the permit-to-install for DEGS Facility, which was originally permitted and built by Procter and Gamble.
The Ohio EPA is attempting nine years after this permit was issued in 2001 to "correct the amount of remaining emissions available to be used as emissions credits." It's obvious the only reason that the Ohio EPA is taking this administrative action nine years later is to assist SunCoke in locating available ERC's (Emission Reduction Credits) for their New Source Review permit on the border of Middletown and Monroe.
The comments are attached and clearly summarize the legal issues at hand. Also attached is the draft permit modification.
SunCoke Watch, Inc. and the Natural Resources Defense Council File a Joint Notice of Appeal with the Environmental Review Appeals Commission on March 10, 2010
SunCoke Watch, Inc. and the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a joint Notice of Appeal on March 10, 2010 with the Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC) on the Director's issuance on February 9, 2010 of a Final Air Pollution Permit to Install ("PTI") to the Middletown Coke Company.
Following is a quote from a Middletown Journal online article on 2/23/10 prior to the Monroe Council meeting on 2/23/10. Although Corbin stated there are 100 members of the trade council living in Monroe and that many would attend the meeting - NOT ONE WAS IN ATTENDANCE - just setting the record straight!
“Since the Ohio EPA said this is the most stringent permit they have ever issued, Monroe’s argument against the plant “is the biggest mystery,” and this latest move is “depressing” since it may well put the project in jeopardy again, said Gary Corbin, Butler County Building and Construction Trades Council executive secretary and treasurer. Members of the trades council would fill the 500 temporary jobs the company would hire to build the plant.
“I find it hard to believe that they are going to come in there and spend another several thousand dollars to fight this thing when they can’t really have the money,” Corbin said.
About 100 members of the trades council are Monroe residents, and Corbin said many will attend tonight’s council meeting.
“A good deal of them would be working at that job,” he said.”
The above are the exact statements in the online article prior to the Council meeting; however, the statement about the trades council being in attendance is no longer included in the article linked below (it has been updated since the meeting). The Journal has not reported that NO ONE was in attendance. Rather than update the facts as to what actually happened, the statement has been removed.
Monroe, Ohio, February 23, 2010
Citing significant legal and technical flaws in Middletown Coke Company's recently-issued New Source Review air pollution permit, Monroe City Council has directed its lawyers to appeal the permit to the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission. Council's approval came at its regularly-scheduled meeting this evening.
According to the resolution approved by Council, Monroe "remains committed to protecting the health, safety, and welfare of itself and its citizens and will pursue actions necessary to insure that all federal and state laws and regulations are met" with regard to the coke plant.
The new permit fails to hold Middletown Coke to more stringent emission standards and pollution controls that apply to similar coke plants throughout the U.S., including Middletown Coke's own sister facility in Haverhill, Ohio. Applying those more stringent requirements to the Middletown Coke plant would further reduce the
emission of harmful pollutants by as much as 300 tons/year. "By
law, Middletown Coke must comply with the lowest achievable emission rates in the country," explained Christopher Walker, an environmental attorney representing Monroe. "You can't say this will be the cleanest coke plant in America when even SunCoke's other facilities are subject to greater control requirements."
Monroe Mayor Robert Routson added, "As a result of the efforts of Monroe and others, Middletown Coke is now subject to a New Source Review permit that reduces emissions from the coke plant by over 500 tons/year. That's a nearly 20% reduction from the emission levels in the original permit. However, we expect Ohio EPA to control emissions from the coke plant to the fullest extent required by the law. It is not acceptable to risk the health of 12,000 Monroe citizens for the sake of 75 permanent jobs."
I’ve just finished reading the editorial in Sunday’s Journal, “Monroe leaders should end costly SunCoke battle.” The editorial writers have either not been paying attention or are simply continuing to demonstrate their bias on this issue.
The editors seem to forget SunCoke has had a valid permit, the “netting” permit, since November 2008. They could have started construction any time since then. Any flaws found in the recently issued New Source permit would be no more protected from the appeals process than the flaws in the earlier netting permit. Certainly the Journal doesn’t believe that SunCoke should be above the law and that any flaws in the new permit should be ignored. After the numerous problems found in the netting permit, certainly the editors will understand if we have little confidence in the Ohio EPA.
The Journal is supporting a company, SunCoke, who is currently listed as a High Priority Violator by the United States EPA. SunCoke’s Haverhill facility in Franklin Furnace, Ohio is the model for the proposed facility in Middletown. That facility has been issued numerous notices of violation including a violation in December. None of these violations have been resolved. SunCoke-Haverhill is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by neighbors for past and continuing pollution problems. Certainly the Journal is aware of these matters, yet you continue to support this corporate scofflaw in the name of economic development.
One of the provisions of the new permit is SunCoke must be “in compliance” at all of their facilities in Ohio. The Ohio EPA has interpreted this to be in compliance at a single point in time of the applicants choosing. This is like me saying I can drive 90 miles an hour down I-75 and that I get to choose the point in time when the Highway Patrol gets to clock my speed! Pretty sweet deal for me but I’m not sure what it means for the safety of those around me!
During extensive archaeological digs on the Martin farmland, which seem to have been occurring over the last year or so, through what appears to have been three separate phases of investigation, two sites have been deemed eligible for the National Register based on the archaeological evidence found. Two articles in the Middletown Journal, the most recent being printed on 1/23/10, summarizes some facts surrounding items found being dated back to 8,000 B.C.
Attached is a statement issued by the Ohio Attorney General's Office on behalf of the Ohio EPA regarding the status of the draft NSR permit following a request made by the ERAC Commission. It is reported that "At this time, Ohio EPA is unable to state with specificity when, if at all, a final NSR permit will be issued. Ohio EPA is in the process of responding to comments and questions from U.S. EPA regarding the permit." This Status Report was served to all involved parties on December 16, 2009.