The United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky have reached a settlement with the AK Steel Corporation (AK Steel) in Ashland, Ky., resolving alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, AK Steel’s title V permit, and the Kentucky State Implementation Plan, announced the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Under the terms of settlement, AK Steel will pay a civil penalty of $1.65 million, of which $25,000 will be paid to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, for the alleged violations that occurred at AK Steel’s former coke production facility in Ashland. AK Steel shut down the coke plant on June 21, 2011. Coke is used as a carbon source and as a fuel to heat and melt iron ore at steel making facilities.
Although AK Steel closed the plant involved in this enforcement action, AK Steel is currently operating the Ashland West Works facility a few miles away from the former coke plant. Under the agreement, AK Steel has agreed to spend at least $2 million on state projects to reduce particulate matter emissions at the Ashland West Works facility.
“This settlement holds AK Steel accountable for years of violations at its now closed coke plant in Ashland,” said Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “As a result of this agreement, state projects to reduce particulate matter emissions at the Ashland West Works facility will continue to improve air quality for area residents for many years to come.”
“This settlement promotes a healthier environment for our citizens and represents a just resolution of this matter,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky Kerry B. Harvey. “We are committed to the effective enforcement of the environmental laws designed to protect the health of our people”
“We are proud to join with our partners in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in this step toward cleaner air and better health for the citizens of Ashland,” said Stan Meiburg, EPA Acting Regional Administrator in Atlanta.
The consent decree was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Notice of the lodging of the consent decree will appear in the Federal Register allowing for a 30-day public comment period before the consent decree can be entered by the court as final judgment. The consent decree will available for viewing at www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html