Gary Works natural gas project would reduce emissions from steel mill

Gary Works plans to install new natural gas pipes and natural gas burners that should reduce the hazardous air pollutants the steel mill emits into the community, according to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker plans to use natural gas instead of fuel oil to provide supplemental power to Boilers No. 1 and No. 2 in the No. 4 Boiler House, removing fuel oil pipes and burners in the process. The switch is expected to result in a decline of 36.6 tons of hazardous air pollutants per year, including an estimated 2,174.77 tons per year of sulfur dioxide emissions.

The change will result in the emissions of more nitrogen oxide and VOCs, but U.S. Steel was required to offset that increase with a decrease elsewhere, since north Lake County is a non-attainment zone for federal air quality regulations, said Jenny Acker, permits branch chief for the Office of Air Quality at IDEM. The steel mill is doing so by taking other equipment off-line, she said.

State officials hail it as "a really great story in emission reduction."

"There was some equipment that was shut down to offset it," Acker said. "Any increase was met with an even larger decrease. And typically, natural gas is a much cleaner source of fuel. You definitely have less toxins in it. You have less SO2. You have less particulate matter."

U.S. Steel is installing Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems for nitrogen oxides that will monitor the emissions in real time. It will be required to make quarterly reports to the state about whether emissions stayed within permitted limits.

Gary resident Kathy Kellogg told state officials at a public meeting Thursday she was concerned with the dark clouds she sees hovering over the Gary Works steel mill every morning.

"I just don't want this community to continue to be polluted," she said.

The public has until March 16 to comment on U.S. Steel's plan, which they can email to abelt@idem.in.gov, fax to 317-232-6749 or mail to IDEM, Office of Air Quality MC 61-53 IGCN 1003 100 N. Senate Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46204.

To read the permit online, visit in.gov/idem/files/notice_20200315_air_42193d.pdf.

This article was initially posted by nwitimes.com

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