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GENEVA CITING LAWSUIT TO BLOCK CLEAN AIR PLAN, COALITION SAYS

SHARE GENEVA CITING LAWSUIT TO BLOCK CLEAN AIR PLAN, COALITION SAYS

The Utah County Clean Air Coalition says Geneva Steel is using a lawsuit filed by the American Iron and Steel Institute to block efforts to reduce PM10 pollution in Utah County.

The suit, filed in August in the District of Columbia, says the Environmental Protection Agency acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" in establishing the PM10 standard. The suit says EPA failed to explain the adverse health affects of PM10, did not consider adverse health effects caused by "reasonably foreseeable unemployment resulting from implementation of the PM10 standard" and failed to issue up-to-date PM10 control technique information as required by the Clean Air Amendment. Arguments in the case are scheduled for December.Geneva Steel included references to the suit in recently submitted comments on the proposed state implementation plan drafted by the Bureau of Air Quality.

"Geneva management has repeatedly stated that they are committed to clean air in Utah County and will `do everything humanly possible' to achieve that goal," said Julie Mack, co-founder of the coalition. "It now appears that what Geneva considers to be `humanly possible' is a long, drawn-out legal challenge against PM10 regulations in the courts."

Robert Grow, executive vice president for Geneva, said the company is not a party to the suit and is "moving forward with the state on the state implementation plan based on current standards."

But, Grow said it would be "naive for any of us to not be aware of that lawsuit. If a judge were to change the standard or send it back to the EPA for further consideration, it could affect what the state is doing in Utah, as well as any other state."

In its comments Geneva echoes the institute's arguments, in particular that consideration should be given to "the comparative impact on the Utah County economy or the health effects on Geneva employees should the plan require closing Geneva Steel."

Also, Geneva says the plan's requirement that it reduce emissions by more than the share it contributes violates Geneva's constitutional rights, that the arbitrary nature of the PM10 reductions constitutes taking of private property without just compensation, and that because the plan does not contain an adequate description of how a target standard was reached, it violates the due-process rights of interested parties.

The Utah County Clean Air Coalition believes such comments represent an attempt to stall cleanup of Utah County's air.

"The steel industry raises objections to federal PM10 health standards and then Geneva Steel pronounces that state plans to meet such standards cannot proceed until all objections are cleared up," said Dr. Sam Rushforth, an environmental biologist at Brigham Young University and co-founder of the coalition.

"Geneva Steel cannot have it both ways," Rushforth said. "Geneva Steel (cannot) claim to support PM10 health regulations while attempting to use the steel industry's suit to scuttle state efforts to clean our air."