US Steel Agrees to $4.5 Million Settlement From 2018 Plant Fire

( – On Christmas Eve 2018, there was a devastating fire at Clairton Coke Works that resulted in the crippling of the plant’s pollution controls. That meltdown led to high levels of pollution being released into the air, putting thousands at risk. US Steel was accused of operating without these controls for three months, which led to a lawsuit that the company recently agreed to settle.

The PennEnvironment and Clean Air Council, along with the Allegheny County Health Department, sued United States Steel Corporation in February 2023. The plaintiffs alleged that the steel company was negligent in allowing pollution to be released into the air, violating the Clean Air Act. It cited numerous “design flaws and longstanding, systemic maintenance deficiencies.”

All in all, US Steel was accused of more than 12,000 violations and of causing health issues in those who were exposed. Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, it was scheduled to proceed in federal court, but the two sides came to a tentative agreement. It took several months to work it out.

The parties involved reported that they submitted the agreement to the court for a judge’s review on Monday, January 29. The settlement would see the company pay $4.5 million to local Pittsburgh communities affected by the pollution. It would also spend several million to help improve the air quality and public health in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Mon Valley region.

US Steel has also agreed to several other stipulations as part of the agreement. The first would see the company invest $19.5 million in upgrading its facilities to reduce carbon emissions produced in the coking process. It will also cover a portion of the legal fees for the Clean Air Council and PennEnvironment and contribute $500,000 to Allegheny County’s Clean Air Fund.

Nippon Steel, a Japanese company, is currently in the process of acquiring US Steel. The Clairton facility is being permanently closed.

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