Gov. Edward G. Rendell helped break ground October 22 to kick off a massive investment by the United States Steel Corporation that will create more than 600 construction jobs, ensure the company's continuing operations in Pennsylvania, and bring about environmental improvements in the region.
U.S. Steel, headquartered in Pittsburgh, plans to spend $1.2 billion on technological and environmental advances at its facility in Clairton. The plant manufactures coke, which is used in steel production, and it is the largest such facility in the United States. U.S. Steel will build two state-of-the-art coke batteries to replace two older battery groups and rehabilitate the facility's remaining coke batteries. The project represents the largest capital expenditure in U.S. Steel's history.
"This massive investment serves notice that U.S. Steel is committed to the commonwealth for the long haul – and especially to the hardworking men and women of southwestern Pennsylvania," said Governor Rendell. "This project will not only create hundreds of construction jobs, it will ensure the future of the 3,000 U.S. Steel employees working at the company's Mon Valley Works."
U.S. Steel's Mon Valley Works consists of four separate plants, each specializing in a different aspect of the steelmaking process. Three of the facilities – the Clairton plant, the Edgar Thompson Plant in Braddock, and the Irvin Plant in West Mifflin – are located in Allegheny County, while the Fairless Plant is located outside of Philadelphia. In total, U.S. Steel employs approximately 5,000 Pennsylvanians.
"This is a very important investment for U.S. Steel Corporation," said John Surma, chairman and CEO of the company. "It not only benefits our company and our employees, but the project will also provide significant environmental and economic benefits for the region over time. We appreciate the support of all of the stakeholders involved in the process, including Governor Rendell and his colleagues."
The new coke batteries will feature state-of-the art emissions control technology that, along with the environmentally focused rehabilitation work on the remaining batteries, should result in significant improvements in the Clairton Plant's overall environmental performance and improve the overall air quality in the region, company officials said.
"Since I took office, we have made it a priority to help manufacturing even as we expand in other sectors of the economy," Governor Rendell added. "By using new processes and innovative technology – while also improving the environment – U.S. Steel is providing a model for how American manufacturing can succeed in the 21st century."