This plant was closing because of existing enforcement of EPA laws and ALSO because of the economic downturn reducing steel production (which requires metallurgical coke). The company chose to close their oldest, hardest to upgrade plant for business reasons which included the cost to upgrade the plant. There was talk of closing down for the last 9 years, but under the Bush EPA they just kept operating. Of the jobs lost, 100 to 120 will transfer elsewhere, and other community jobs will be lost from supporting industries.
There are losses to the community of Ashland KY besides the jobs detailed in the link- like taxes, students and water consumption. But look what they have done to my air quality http://www.stateoftheair.org/.... This link will let you check out your own air quality.
We are in high levels of particle pollution, which comes from coke plants and coal fired power plants with inadequate scrubbers. We are 15th in particle pollution here in the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH area. We have lots of asthma and other lung diseases (aggravated by high levels of smoking in WV and KY). So we will lose some jobs and improve some health for others.
But the company closing this plant, SunCoke Energy http://www.suncoke.com/... is building a new plant in farmlands of Monroe Ohio rather than cleaning up the current plant. They have built a new plant not far from where I live in Franklin Furnace Ohio. Those newer plants are cleaner and more efficient. Those newer plants stimulated the economies of those towns and use waste heat for energy production. So it is simplistic to just focus on the loss of some jobs in Ashland KY when across the river within 30 miles there is a new plant being built, creating jobs and leaving the air cleaner for all of us. SunCoke isn't exactly going out of business over the EPA- they are making business decisions to maximize their income. An advocacy group SunCoke Watch http://suncokewatch.com/ tried unsuccessfully to prevent building the Middleton Ohio facility near schools, and is monitoring SunCoke, which doesn't have the best record of following EPA rules.
Why is the plant in Ashland giving in to EPA now? SO2 standards were increased by the EPA for the first time in 40 years http://yosemite.epa.gov/... and mercury standards are under review http://thinkprogress.org/.... These mercury standards are really important and the Republicans and coal state Democrats don't want them implemented.
So if Obama has made you mad about ozone standards, do something to complain about mercury standards now! Write to Commissioner Jackson and support mercury standards being strengthened, like 800,000 Americans have already. And while you are at it, complain about ozone standards too! Here is her email address. firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't get mad, get even. Write to your congresspersons and complain as well- I can write to everyone here in WV and I will but I am only one voice. This anti EPA push needs grassroots support for clean air. http://www.nytimes.com/.... Democrats like Barbara Boxer are leading the fight, but this is bigger than ozone. The SO2 rule really cost some of these folks and will significantly clean up my air. Mercury will do more for me. Ozone standards had the weakest argument, and we need to keep pushing on it as well. As for it taking years, well folks, it takes years. And no Obama, no nothing at all. We need voices from people who want clean air and clean water directed to these people to counter the job loss message.