US Steel announced that a study analyzing area traffic and ambient air quality data from an air quality monitoring station near US Steel’s Mon Valley Works found that there was a 40% decrease in particulate matter PM2.5 ambient air concentrations when comparing readings from before and after the COVID-19 stay at home order in Spring 2020. In the study, environmental consulting firm Trinity Consultants verified US Steel’s finding that included an analysis of data collected from the Liberty Monitor, along with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation traffic data taken from within a 40mmile radius of that site. Over the period reviewed, there was no change in production at the Clairton Plant, while the number of total vehicles on south western Pennsylvania roadways in the area examined fell by 50%.
The data review opportunity afforded by these unique circumstances, suggests a direct, significant correlation between the amount of vehicle traffic and Liberty Monitor PM2.5 concentrations. Both US Steel and Trinity intend to further examine these findings and share them with the appropriate state and local authorities, including the Allegheny County Health Department. These findings are consistent with several other reports of substantial improvements in PM 2.5 concentrations in other cities during similar reductions in vehicle traffic as a consequence of COVID-19 shelter in place orders.
US Steel is targeting a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emission intensity by 2030, using 2018 as the baseline year for measurement. The company views its ‘Best of Both’ strategy as a companywide investment in sustainability, by incorporating electric arc furnace steelmaking to reduce GHG emissions and improve the scrap recycling rate within US Steel.