The state is setting a new sulfur dioxide emissions limit for Indiana Coke Co. in East Chicago.

The company, which supplies the ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor steel mill with the coke that's burned in blast furnaces to make pig iron, has been branded by regulators and environmental groups as one of the Region's worst polluters after repeated Clean Air Act violations.

Last year, Cokenergy and its subsidiary Indiana Harbor Coke Co. entered into a consent decree with state and federal governments in which it agreed to pay a $5 million fine, clean up lead contamination in East Chicago and curb air pollution.

The state is now ordering the company to install a permanent flow monitor to continuously measure its emissions and to release no more than a maximum of 13% of coke oven waste gases through its bypass vent stacks. If Cokenergy puts in a heat recovery steam generator, which would use the coke oven waste gases to generate electricity, it can vent up to 14% of the gases into the atmosphere.

The heat recovery steam generator must account for at least 3.25% of the annual bypass venting, according to a proposed rule by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's Air Pollution Control Division. And recycled gases must be the only fuel source used for the coking ovens during their normal operations, and gases cannot be released directly to the atmosphere unless they first pass through the common tunnel afterburner.

Under IDEM's proposed rule, Indiana Coke Co. can vent no more than 19% of the coke oven waste gases into the atmosphere on any given day.

A public hearing on the proposed rule will take place at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Jan. 8 in Conference Center Room A at the Indiana Government Center South, 10 North Senate Avenue in Indianapolis. People can express their views, which they are encouraged to do in writing for the accuracy of the record.

For more information, call Dan Watts, Rules Development Branch, Office of Legal Counsel at 317-234-5345 or 800-451-6027.
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