UPDATED: EHB Denies DEP Request to Certify Appeal in Erie Coke Case, Says it’s “Not Worthwhile;” 3 New NOVs Issued

By way of an Opinion and Order issued Thursday, the Environmental Hearing Board essentially ended the Department of Environmental Protection’s bid to appeal the Board’s Aug. 28 granting of supersedeas to Erie Coke. The supersedeas decision allowed Erie Coke to continue operations at its facility – subject to certain restrictions – pending the outcome of its appeal of DEP’s denial of the company’s air quality operating permit renewal application. The decision issued yesterday all but assures that Erie Coke’s fate now hangs on the outcome of the February 2020 hearings in the appeal case. Specifically, the Environmental Hearing Board denied...
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More problem air samples around Erie Coke

A second set of air monitoring samples from around the Erie Coke plant are once again showing a problem. The State Department of Environmental Resources has 13 passive air monitors set-up around the coke plant property on the East Erie Bayfront. They are monitoring benzene levels, which can be hazardous to human health. Four of the 13 monitors in the most recent testing show readings higher than 1.3 micrograms per cubic meter. The DEP says anything higher than 1.3 means further evaluation and analysis is needed. This is the second round of samples that have indicated an elevated level of...
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DEP Opens Investigation Near Erie Coke Following Passive Air Monitoring Sampling Results

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has opened a follow-up investigation near Erie Coke because of the results of the department’s new passive air monitoring sampling. DEP, which received the first three sets of passive air sampling results, found that monitors had indicated that benzene concentrations exceeded a specific action level set forth in the sampling plan. This plan calls for further investigation when the 1.3 µg/m3 action level is exceeded for three sampling events in a rolling 90-day period. “These levels do not indicate an immediate risk for the community; however, they do warrant additional investigation. In each...
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DEP Asks EHB Judge to Certify Appeal in Erie Coke Supersedeas Case

On Aug. 28, Environmental Hearing Board Judge Steven C. Beckman issued an order allowing Erie Coke Corp. to continue operating while it appeals the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s denial of its application to renew its Title V Operating Permit. This week, DEP took the somewhat unusual step of asking Beckman to certify that his ruling is appealable. On Monday, attorneys for DEP filed a Motion to Amend Interlocutory Order Granting Petition for Supersedeas “to provide that the order involves controlling questions of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion and that an immediate appeal...
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Erie Coke hit with $200,000 wastewater penalty

It’s the company’s second consent order reached with the city of Erie since May. The same day that negotiations between Erie Coke Corp. and state regulators fell apart last week, the company reached an agreement with the city of Erie to pay a $200,000 penalty for mishandling wastewater as recently as June. The consent order is the second the city has reached with Erie Coke over wastewater treatment at the coke plant since May. The violations listed in the new consent order occurred between December and June. Erie Coke must pay the city a total of $191,077, according to the...
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