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Erie Coke Pays $6-Million Fine, Agrees to Upgrades

June 20, 2010
Three-year project will replace or repair ovens, emissions controls
Foundry coke supplier Erie Coke Corp. has agreed to an extensive series of modernizations and updates to its Erie, PA, plant, and will pay a $6-million fine in order to achieve compliance with state environmental and air-quality regulations. The information was released by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which filed a consent decree in Commonwealth Court resolving the charges that brought a closure notice to the plant in late May. The settlement allows Erie Coke to continue to operate while it makes the necessary corrections. Erie Coke and its chief executive, J.D. Crane paid the $6 million fine upon signing the consent decree. The company has not commented on the settlement. Its other foundry coke operation, Tonawanda Coke in Tonawanda, NY, continues to face charges of air quality and environmental violations from U.S. and New York environmental authorities. "This hard-fought settlement ensures cleaner air for Erie residents and confirms that no one is above the law," stated DEP Secretary John Hanger. "Facilities that are issued environmental permits must comply with those permits." The agreement calls for Erie Coke to rebuild 27 of its 58 coke ovens within three years; repairs to end flues on coke ovens that will not be rebuilt must be completed within two years. Erie Coke has three months to repair or replace the emissions control device on its scrubber car, and it must replace that device with a coke shed and baghouse within 18 months. Over the course of the three-year modernization, Erie Coke will be subject to monthly fines for ongoing violations until the work is completed. "The upgrades to bring this antiquated facility into compliance will require Erie Coke and Mr. Crane to make a substantial investment," Hanger stated. "Erie Coke estimates that the cost of repairs and improvements will be in the neighborhood of $15 million, but these dollars will be well spent to protect local citizens, the community and the air they breathe."