Hey EPA do Something! Ongoing Benzene Pollution by US Steel


“There is also likely exposure to other carcinogens… so that the overall risks are even higher. The hydrogen sulfide and particulate issues by themselves could be a concern but the combination of all the exposures together indicates to me that additional action is warranted.”

David Eastmond, professor emeritus of toxicology at the University of California at Riverside

Armed with a year’s worth of monitoring data, Mon Valley residents and environmental groups say health hazards from benzene pollution at Pittsburgh-area U.S. Steel plants are “beyond imminent,” and they’re asking the US Environmental Protection Agency to “take immediate action” to cut pollution from the plants.
In a letter to the agency last month, the groups revealed data from several air monitors placed at homes in the Mon Valley in Allegheny County, arguing the results show levels of benzene, a known human carcinogen, that threaten public health and the environment.
The Environmental Integrity Project sent the letter, which documents benzene levels spiking in the air near the plants during inversions, weather events that trap pollution near the ground, in the Mon Valley this fall. The letter demands the EPA act to lower benzene and other toxic air emissions from the company’s three large production facilities.

Source: Reid Frazier | The Allegheny Front | January 4, 2023

“EPA has not yet responded to our request for a meeting though I am hopeful they will do so soon. There is no specific deadline or formal process. We will continue to follow up with EPA until we are able to get the necessary attention and action to reduce toxic exposures for the community.”

Jen Duggan, attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project in an Email
ZOOM: January 23, 2023 6:00PM
Air Quality Town Hall #9

Why the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Needs to Meet the Residents of Our Airshed

Monday, Jan 23, 2023, 6:00 p.m.
Zoom Register!

You can make a difference.
Lend your voice to an invitation for EPA Region 2 Administrator Adam Ortiz to tour the Mon/Ohio Valley in order to learn first-hand how living in one of the country’s most polluted regions not only undermines our health and well-being but translates into lives lost. Today, the EPA announced its proposed decision to revise the primary (health-based) annual PM2.5 standard from its current level of 12.0 micrograms per cubic meter to within the range of 9.0 to 10.0.PM2.5 small particle pollution plagues our region, placing us in the worst 1% of places in the country for cancers caused by air pollution and up to triple the national level of youth asthma. We need to advocate for the most strident standard to protect our health. Touring our region and meeting with residents of environmental justice communities will help Ortiz understand the burden we live under and the positive impact that tightened standards will have on the lives of real people. 

We will be sharing with Ortiz crucial background information to strengthen the case for such a visit – material which will be available to you as well. 

Howard M Rieger, Ph.D.
Convener, SWPA Resident-Led Town Halls
Southwest PA Resident-Led Town Halls hmrieger [at] gmail.com

Biden Hands Rare Win to Permian Drillers With Pause on Smog Rule
January 6, 2023
– (Bloomberg) — The Biden administration is deferring a plan to crack down on smog in the drilling hotbed of the Permian Basin, handing a win to oil producers along with their allies in Texas and New Mexico. The Environmental Protection Agency had been considering formally labeling parts of the region as violating federal air quality standards for ozone — a designation that would have spurred new pollution curbs and potentially deterred drilling in the world’s biggest oil field.

“The agency [EPA] seems to be backing down from this critical initiative to safeguard clean air and public health in the Permian Basin. While the Biden administration talks a good talk on public health and environmental justice, the reality is they’re bending over backward to let the oil and gas industry trash air quality and communities.”

Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director for WildEarth Guardians