New controls will result in a reduction of over 1,000 pounds of lead emissions per year
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a proposed Clear Air Act agreement with Republic Steel, a steelmaker in Canton, Ohio, that would require the company to reduce lead emissions from its facility, which contribute to lead concentrations in of air in the environment to exceed national Ambient Air Quality Standards for lead. The terms of the settlement are contained in a proposed consent order filed today in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. In addition to reducing air pollution, the settlement requires Republic Steel to pay a $990,000 civil penalty.
The United States complaint, filed concurrently with the consent decree, alleges that Republic Steel is operating in violation of the Clean Air Act permit by failing to conduct emissions tests and exceeding lead emission limits. Under the Consent Order, Republic Steel will install and operate new control technology on its Flexcast vacuum tank degasser and associated cooling tower to reduce lead emissions from the facility. The EPA estimates that the new controls will result in a reduction of over 1,000 pounds of lead emissions per year.
“Even relatively low levels of lead exposure can damage a child’s cognitive development,” he said Larry Starfield, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This settlement will help protect local communities and especially children by reducing lead levels in the air.”
“This is an important agreement and reflects our continued commitment to vigorously enforce the Clean Air Act to protect public health, the environment and the most vulnerable communities that are disproportionately affected by air pollution,” he said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Department of Justice’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Exposure to lead pollution can affect almost every organ and system in the human body. It is particularly harmful to young children, as they are most susceptible to some of the side effects of lead. This is relevant here as there is a three school community within a one mile radius of the Republic Steel facility. Additionally, this is an area of environmental justice concerns.
The settlement is subject to a public comment period ending January 13, 2023 and final court approval. The Consent Decree will be available at https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.