Erie Coke Reaches Out to Public During Permit Renewal Process

While Tonawanda Coke, near Buffalo, is facing a possible shutdown and hefty fines, Erie News Now wanted to know how well its sister plant, Erie Coke, is obeying environmental laws. Erie News Now looked at the plant’s operating record over the past year, and found that it is not clean. There have been penalties, and there have been fines, and they’ve come at a very important time at the plant…a time when it must renew its operating permit.

According to statistics obtained by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Erie Coke has been issued 8 notices of violation for excess fugitive emissions over the last 12 months. 16 violations were contained in those notices.

The DEP recorded 307 days where the opacity, or haze, levels were greater than 20 percent over standards. On some days, the levels were over 60 percent of the standards. Erie Coke paid penalties totaling over $14,000 for the last two quarters of 2017. Fines have yet to be levied for the first two quarters of 2018.

Erie Coke, as part of its permit renewal process, is reaching out to the public in an effort to be more transparent with how its plant operates. It recently conducted a private tour of the plant with a group of citizens and community leaders it calls stakeholders. Those stakeholders are now meeting regularly to discuss Erie Coke’s impact on the east side neighborhood.

“We know the facility has had violations in the past.  Their sister plant has had problems in New York.  So we want to make sure that here locally we’re asking the right questions, monitoring them,” said Karen Tobin, Erie County Health Department.

Read the full article on Erie News Now

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