Appeals Filed by City and SunCoke Watch

On November 25th 2008 the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued a permit to allow the construction of the Sun Coke processing facility in Middletown, Ohio. The permit was issued with a stipulation that Sun Coke not begin construction until a concurring decision comes from the Federal EPA. The Federal EPA has not issued a decision in regard to this permit. 

The main concern in allowing the permit is the issue of netting credits. The EPA needs to determine if the netting credits are valid for this proposed facility. The netting credits became available in June of 2003 when the Sinter Plant was shut down. AK Steel had five years to use those credits. Additionally the credits could not be used until the final draft permit was issued by the EPA. The permit was issued in July of 2008. The permit came as no surprise to residents opposed to the proposed coke plant. 

Within hours of the permit being issued Chris Walker addressed Monroe City Council. He wanted the citizens of Monroe to know that Monroe City Council would be appealing the permit to ERAC and would be filing a citizen's action law suit in federal court. Sun Coke Watch Inc. also announced they also intended to file an appeal with ERAC. 

At the December 9th Monroe City Council meeting the city council was approached by representatives of several trade groups affiliated with AK Steel. The representatives asked the city of Monroe to reconsider the decision to appeal. Alan McCoy, spokesmen for AK Steel, asked council to reconsider the decision to appeal on the basis that this could affect the future survival of AK Steel. City Council listened for more than an hour of speakers both for and against the proposed coke plant. Mayor Robert Routson spoke as the voice of city council. He stated that Monroe City Council was going to hold ground and continue with the appeal process. 

Mayor Routson noted that the Monroe citizens speaking in favor of the coke facility were those affiliated with AK Steel or members of a union related to AK Steel, while the Monroe citizens opposed to the proposed coke plant were normal everyday citizens thankful for city council standing up for the health and welfare of Monroe citizens.

The next step in the process is to file with ERAC. The City of Monroe and Sun Coke Watch Inc have already begun the process of appealing the permit. The permit hearing could be heard anytime during a period extending from the next six weeks to a year. 

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