United States Aims to Crack Down on Pollution by Steelmakers

(AmericanProsperity.com) – A new Environmental Protection Agency rule is focused on cracking down on steelmakers’ contribution to air pollution. They plan to do this by cutting down on pollutants that have poisoned the air in neighborhoods that surround these plants, such as mercury and benzene.

The rules have been targeting the contaminants released by steel facilities’ coke ovens as gas from the ovens creates a cancer risk in the air surrounding the steel plants. Public health advocates have said that this is bad for children and people with underlying health conditions. The chemicals that are released don’t travel far from the plant, but advocates say that it has been “devastating” for low-income neighborhoods that are near these facilities.

Patrice Simms, Earthjustice’s vice president for healthy communities, said, “People have long faced significant health risks, like cancer, due to coke oven pollution.” He continued, “The rules are crucial for safeguarding communities and workers near coke ovens”.

Coke ovens are chambers that heat up coal in order to produce coke, which is the hard deposit that makes steel. Gas produced by these ovens is a known carcinogen as recognized by the EPA. Many of the chemicals that are released are connected to multiple issues like eczema, digestive lesions, and respiratory problems.

The rules require “fenceline” testing around the plants and if contaminants are found to exceed the new limits put in place, then they must find out the source and take action. These new rules also remove any loopholes that these companies were using to avoid reporting emissions.

A U.S. steel spokesperson said that the rules would be “impossible to implement” and that they would have “unprecedented costs and potentially unintended adverse environmental impacts.”

He also said, “The costs would be unprecedented and unknown because there are no proven control technologies for certain hazardous air pollutants.”

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