Citizen's Group Speaks Out About Judge's Ruling on Erie Coke
It's been two days since a judge's ruling allowing Erie Coke to remain open despite numerous air pollution violations. Members of an environmental group called Hold Erie Coke Accountable (HECA) had been silent since the ruling. Today, they're speaking out.
Judge Steven Beckman, of the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board, ruled on Wednesday that Erie Coke can remain open while it appeals the state's decision to not renew the company's operating permit. That operating permit was not renewed because of air pollution violations at the plant.
The judge issued conditions that Erie Coke must follow. If not, the ruling would be voided. Sr. Pat Lupo, HECA Spokesperson, is letting Erie Coke know that its members will be watching.
"We will take, as a group, a much closer look at those conditions. We will zero in on the ones that we think that we may be able to help monitor,” she said.
HECA members have been feeling much better lately about Erie Coke, despite the judge's ruling. Dr. Mike Campbell believes production has been throttled back since the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection installed air quality monitors along the fence line of the plant and in the surrounding neighborhood.
"If being monitored does the job of reducing the pollution then I say as long as we keep those monitors in place, I guess we can wait until a more complete hearing is done,” he said.
The first readings from the monitors are still being analyzed. That data will no doubt be used, by one side or the other, during the next court hearing. The evidentiary hearing in the case has been scheduled for February 3.