Erie Coke hearing continues through second day of proceedings

Local News

Day two of the Environmental Board hearing regarding Erie Coke kicked off with the plant’s CEO taking the stand.

The hearing began yesterday and is expected to last until Monday. It will determine if Erie Coke will be able to operate during legal proceedings since the Department of Environmental Protection filed a motion to shut down the plant.

The CEO of Erie Coke took the stand at 9 a.m. and testified for two hours. Another witness from McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company, an iron factory based out of Alabama, also testified. He shared that if Erie Coke closes, his company wouldn’t be able to get the same quality coke from anywhere else.

Two Erie Coke employees also testified, one of them a plant superintendent, another a battery supervisor at the plant.

Both employees said their families depend on their Erie Coke jobs and that most of the D.E.P violations were because of human error.

According to Paul Saffrin, if Erie Coke were to close down, more than 130 employees would be without a job. It would rock the industry as there are only three existing Coke plants in the U.S. that produce foundry coke.

The D.E.P. made the point that Erie Coke has had plenty of time to fix violations, yet they have not done anything to fix fugitive emissions or other violations. The D.E.P. also pressed Saffrin on employee training and how much time is spent on making sure they know protocol.

D.E.P. questioned Erie Coke’s CEO and employees about their work practices and how they will fix violations in the future.

Over the past two days, Erie Coke has called four witness. Meanwhile, the D.E.P. hasn’t presented any witnesses yet, but hearing proceedings will continue tomorrow at 9 a.m.

Story continues to develop as the hearing continues.

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