ERIE, Pa. (AP) – A coke plant in northwestern Pennsylvania will be allowed to continue operating until a hearing board rules on its appeal of state environmental officials’ denial of its operating permit.

A judge on Pennsylvania’s Environmental Hearing Board on Friday granted a delay until at least Wednesday of the state Department of Environmental protection’s denial of Erie Coke Corp.’s application to renew its operating permit.

Erie Coke attorney Paul Stockman said failure to grant relief would in effect impose “a corporate ‘death penalty'” on the company by destroying its primary asset – two batteries of coke ovens.”

Erie Coke filed an appeal Tuesday after the department denied the permit renewal and filed a complaint in Erie County Court to shut the plant down, citing “years of numerous repetitive environmental violations.”

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