Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

August 22, 2013

AK Steel to pay $1.65M civil penalty to settle air pollution allegations

ASHLAND — AK Steel Corp. will pay a $1.65 million civil penalty to resolve alleged violations of air pollution laws that occurred at its now-closed coke plant in Ashland, the Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday.

As part of a settlement reached between the company, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the U.S. government, AK Steel will also spend at least $2 million on two projects to further reduce particulate matter emissions at its Ashland West Works facility. Kentucky will receive $25,000 of the penalty.

The settlement resolves alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, AK Steel’s Title V permit and the Kentucky State Implementation Plan, which occurred while the plant was still in operation. AK Steel closed the coke plant in June 2011 because it was no longer cost competitive because of high maintenance costs and increasingly stringent environmental regulations.

“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 the 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 Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “We are committed to the effective enforcement of the environmental laws designed to protect the health of our people.”

AK Steel said in a statement released Wednesday it “appreciates the cooperation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky during the settlement negotiation process that enabled a portion of AK Steel’s assessed penalty to be applied to environmental improvement projects at the Ashland Works.”

According to the same statement, AK has spent approximately $85 million between 2003 and 2012 on environmental-related capital projects in addition to $1.1 billion to operate and maintain environmental controls combined at its facilities.

AK officials did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday night. The statement also pointed out Wednesday’s settlement was made “without admission of the alleged violations by AK Steel.” 

The consent decree was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. A notice of the lodging will appear in the Federal Register for a 30-day public comment period before the decree is entered by the court as a final judgement.

The decree will be available for viewing at justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html. The document was not immediately available.

Despite Wednesday’s settlement, AK Steel remains under an administrative order issued last fall by the EPA in regard to hazardous waste found in soil and water tested at the facility. The company has submitted a sampling and analysis plan to the EPA, which is under review.

 It is unclear if the settlement also resolves a civil investigation by the DOJ into those alleged violations. Spokeswomen for the EPA and DOJ were not immediately available Wednesday evening.

The Ashland West Works is four miles from the defunct coke plant. The 700-acre steel mill produces carbon and ultra-low carbon steel slabs, and hot dip galvanized and galvannealed coated steels. It employs more than 800.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com.

Text Only
Local News
  • Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years

    The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729hagerman.jpg Hagerman talks law with Rotary

    At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue speaks during an interview in Salt Lake City

    Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse

    This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
    Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Study shows room for parking improvement

    It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland

    A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
    Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Gate City landmark demolished

    The historic Catlettsburg National Bank Building was being taken down after the front dormer window collapsed on Sunday.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • Local counties see drop in unemployment

    Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726bigboy.JPG Big Boy to open Aug. 11

    The long-awaited Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant will open Aug. 11, and when it does it will be business as usual from day one: the eatery will open its doors to the early breakfast crowd at 6:30.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SOAR meeting at MSU Aug. 6

    Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional Medical Center will present Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers as part of a "Health Impact Series" under the new Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative.

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone