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Mon Valley Holds Public Meeting On Agreement Between Allegheny County Health Department And U.S. Steel

CLAIRTON, Pa. (KDKA) -- People in the Mon Valley are learning more about how millions of dollars will be used to limit pollution from the Clairton Coke Works plant.

A public hearing was held Tuesday at Clairton's Municipal Building about the multi-million dollar agreement between the Allegheny County Health Department and U.S. Steel.

Many environmental groups and area elected officials believe the agreement doesn't do enough.

"I had a sister die of scleroderma, which is a rare disease caused by the environment," Clairton City Council member Denise Johnson-Clemsons said. "I myself have MS, which also is environmental."

"A very small amount of money that may not act as a deterrent for future emission problems, and it could look like it's a pay-to-pollute type of arrangement," Breath Project Executive Director Matthew Mehalik said.

The settlement also requires U.S. Steel to reduce emissions by upgrading batteries, which house the facility's coke ovens.

Union leaders and workers said it's a big step in the right direction to keep the Mon Valley and Clairton Coke Works viable for future generations.

"It's critical to the way of life here," U.S. Steel Clairton Coke Works Plant Manager Michael Rhoads said. "And it's critical to the way of life here in this country. It builds the backbone of our infrastructure."

The current agreement ends the threat of a plant shutdown.

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