A Dangerous Haze

The Pittsburgh area has some of the dirtiest air in the nation. The metropolitan area ranks 6th in the nation for year-round soot pollution and the American Lung Association graded the county with an F for its overall air quality. This is putting the health of local residents--and in some cases even their lives--at serious risk.

Just about everyone has a friend or family member who struggles with asthma and air pollution drastically increases their likelihood of an asthma attack that could send them to the hospital. Additionally, research found that Allegheny County ranks in the top 2% of counties for cancer risk from pollution.

This is unacceptable. Clean air is a right—not a privilege.

Cleaning up the Dirty Dozen

Much of the industrial air pollution in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County comes from just the Dirty Dozen—12 industrial facilities that are responsible for 83% of the toxic air pollution reported by industry in the region.

For example, one of the worst offenders is the Shenango Coke Works. This polluting behemoth recently violated its Clean Air Act permits 330 times in a 432 day period—essentially 3 out of every four days.

Many communities located near or downwind from these polluting facilities have been fighting to get them to reduce their pollution and clean up their act for years. These communities are tired of having to keep their windows closed to keep the toxic odors out of their homes, and worrying about the possible health impacts of letting their kids go outside to play.

Our Chance for Clean Air

Unfortunately, the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), who is responsible for protecting citizens residents have failed to address these large sources of pollution so far. Despite overwhelming evidence of heightened risks from air pollution throughout the county, ACHD has dismissed the threat posed by air pollution time and time again.

PennEnvironment is working to organize and amplify the voices of concerned Pittsburghers, to make sure that the county’s elected officials and the Health Department take air pollution seriously and work quickly and aggressively to address it. 

Clean Air Updates

News Release | PennEnvironment

Groups File Notice of Intent to Sue Owners of Steel Plant Over Illegal Air Pollution

Pittsburgh, Pa. - Four environmental organizations today provided notice that they intend to sue owners of a steel plant in Western Pennsylvania for violating the federal Clean Air Act by releasing far more pollution than a permit for the plant allows. 

The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), PennEnvironment, the Environmental Integrity Project and the Clean Air Council are taking action against the Allegheny Ludlum plant in Brackenridge, about 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. 

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News Release | Penn Environment

Scott Pruitt won’t protect Pennsylvania’s air, water or families

“Pennsylvanians and all Americans deserve an EPA administrator who will fight to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the planet we love. Scott Pruitt fails on all these accounts.” – David Masur, PennEnvironment.

Philadelphia – Today the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is slated to vote on President Trump’s nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. PennEnvironment’s Executive Director, David Masur, issued the following statement in response:

 

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News Release | PennEnvironment

PA Health Professionals, Faith Leaders Highlight Public Health Threat of Trump's EPA Pick to Citizens

[HERSHEY, PA] — Hours prior to President-elect Trump’s visit to Pennsylvania for his “Thank You” tour, health professionals and faith leaders discussed the threat to Pennsylvanians posed by his cabinet nominees.  They specifically highlighted the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, despite his denial of basic climate science.

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Headline

'Toxic Ten' List Reveals Top Polluters In Allegheny County

The Penn Environment Research and Policy Center named Allegheny County's ten most toxic industrial pollutants on Monday. The list ranks power facilities by how much pollution they produce, emphasizing that even though the air looks clean in the region, it may not be.

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Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Toxic Ten

Ten industrial polluters in Allegheny County emitted a total of 1.4 million pounds of toxic pollutants into the air in 2013 – including substances linked to cancer, breathing problems, heart disease and nervous system damage.  More than one in three Allegheny County residents lives within three miles of those 10 facilities.

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