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Monroe Council Considers Settlement of Middletown Coke Permit Appeal
Monday, May 14, 2012 6:42:42 PM - Monroe Ohio

During its regular meeting this evening, Monroe City Council considered a proposed settlement agreement which would resolve its legal dispute with Middletown Coke Company over its air pollution permit. The proposed settlement, which was negotiated with SunCoke Energy by all parties to the permit appeal, offers additional air quality protections and would reimburse substantially all of Monroe’s legal expenses associated with the four-year battle over the Middletown Coke facility.

In summary, the proposed settlement would provide the following benefits to Monroe:

Middletown Coke would implement and operate a $1 Million dust control system to minimize dust emissions from its coal piles. This requirement, which would be enforceable by Monroe, would benefit nearby residents by reducing airborne dust levels. As an additional dust control, Middletown Coke agrees to maintain a ten-foot high berm around its outdoor coal piles and to maintain a wind-screen of pine trees on top of the berm. These measures would reduce dust emissions from the coal piles by 90-99%.
Middletown Coke would implement specified emission reduction practices in the event of pollution control equipment malfunctions that result in uncontrolled air pollution emissions. During any malfunction lasting more than 24 hours, Middletown Coke would reduce the amount of coal it processes in the ovens in order to reduce the level of pollutants released to the atmosphere. Middletown Coke would also provide Monroe with copies of all malfunction reports filed with Ohio EPA or the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency, so that Monroe can monitor any malfunctions that occur.

Middletown Coke would pay for the installation and operation of an additional air monitor to measure airborne levels of sulfur dioxide in Monroe. The monitoring device would be operated and maintained by the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency, and would be sited at a location at which the highest sulfur dioxide concentrations are expected.

Middletown Coke agrees to pay Monroe $1.15 Million. This sum will cover substantially all of Monroe’s legal fees and expenses in connection with the four-year battle over the coke plant.

Middletown Coke agrees to conduct an additional emissions test to assess whether it is in compliance with all requirements of its permit.

Middletown Coke agrees to plant trees and other vegetation on its property to reduce the visual impact of the coke plant and to reduce dust emissions on neighboring properties.

Middletown Coke agrees to notify the Monroe City Manager of any applications for new permits, permit changes, or changes in its Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction Plan (“SSM Plan). The SSM Plan includes measures that the Coke Plant will take to minimize emissions during plant startup, shutdown, or malfunctions.

Monroe Council considered the proposed settlement as a first reading at its May 8 meeting. The settlement will have a second reading at the regular Council meeting scheduled for May 22.

This settlement would add additional environmental and health protections to those already secured as a result of Monroe’s efforts. In 2010, in response to a federal lawsuit filed by Monroe, Middletown Coke agreed to apply for a more stringent air pollution permit. That permit resulted in a 31% reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions and a 19% overall reduction in emissions from the coke plant. The new permit reduced the anticipated air emissions by 545 tons per year.

For further information, please contact Christopher Walker of the Dayton office of Van Kley & Walker at (937) 226-9000. 

Source: Monroe Council

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