EAST CHICAGO, Ind. — An Indiana energy company has reached a court settlement with the state and federal governments to clean up operations, resolving a case that involved hundreds of violations of federal pollution standards.
Cokenergy, Sun Coke Energy and its subsidiary, Indiana Harbor Coke Co., supply coke for the blast furnaces at the ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor steel mill in East Chicago. The city struggles with high rates of asthma, cancer and infant mortality due to harmful air pollution.
Under the agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the company will overhaul the facility on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan to curb emissions of brain-damaging lead and lung-damaging soot, sulfur dioxide and volatile chemicals.
“Today’s settlement is one example of how EPA is committed to reducing exposure to lead and other contaminants in communities across the country,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a news release Thursday. “Lead exposure is a serious problem and reducing it is a priority for EPA.”
The company’s pollution violations involved toxic gases, metals and other pollution leaking from coke oven doors or released directly into the air rather than being channeled through pollution-control equipment. It had been on the EPA’s watchlist of offenders for years.
The company has agreed to pay a $5 million fine and will spend $250,000 to clean up lead contamination in East Chicago.
The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period before the federal court can approve it.