WASHINGTON (Reuters) - SunCoke Energy Inc and Cokenergy LLC have agreed to pay a $5 million penalty to resolve alleged U.S. air pollution violations from their plant in East Chicago, Indiana, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.
The settlement, which also requires the companies to rebuild their coke ovens to fix leaks, will result in annual emissions cuts of 680 pounds (308 kg) of lead, and nearly 1,900 pounds (862 kg) of sulfur dioxide and other pollutants, the department said. The ovens convert coal into coke, a fuel used in blast furnaces in iron ore smelting.
Additionally, Cokenergy will spend $250,000 on a lead abatement project in the East Chicago area to reduce lead hazards in schools, day-care centers, and other buildings.
Lead pollution harms brain function in children and can cause other health problems. Sulfur dioxide is a particulate that can harm human lungs and hearts.
The companies will pay the $5 million fine in equal amounts to the U.S. federal government and the state of Indiana, the department said.
Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by James Dalgleish