A Dangerous Haze

Sadly, the Pittsburgh area has some of the dirtiest air in the nation. Right now, 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 Toxic Ten

Much of the industrial air pollution in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County comes from just 10 industrial facilities that are responsible for 83% of the toxic air pollution reported by industry in the region--They’re known as the Pittsburgh Toxic Ten.

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. Local residents are sick and tired of having to keep their windows closed to keep the toxic odors out of their homes, and they’re fed up with worrying about the possible health impacts for their families or letting their kids go outside to play.

Our Chance for Clean Air

 The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) is responsible for protecting local residents, and being our advocate against the region’s worst air polluters. Instead, ACHD has turned a blind eye instead of standing up to these polluters. Despite overwhelming evidence of the heightened risks posed by air pollution throughout the county, time and again ACHD has shrugged off these threats instead of taking action to protect our health.

So 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

100 day anniversary of Superstorm Sandy marked with day of action on climate change

As communities throughout the East Coast are still struggling to rebuild 100 days after Superstorm Sandy slammed the Mid-Atlantic, PennEnvironment urged state and federal officials to redouble their efforts to tackle climate change. Scientists have warned that climate change is helping to fuel the recent increase in extreme weather, and will make events like Superstorm Sandy, and last summer’s record drought, more severe and more frequent unless more is done to limit the carbon pollution fueling climate change.

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News Release | PennEnvironment

NRDC Action Fund, PennEnvironment Identify 11 ‘Dirty Air Villains’

10 Pennsylvania Congressmen and one of our two federal are rated as “Dirty Air Villains” in a new analysis by the NRDC Action Fund published today on the website www.WhoVotesDirty.org and released with PennEnvironment. 

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Obama Administration Finalizes Historic Clean Cars Standards

Today the Obama administration finalized new clean car standards that will double the fuel efficiency of today’s vehicles by 2025, drastically reducing emissions of carbon pollution and cutting oil use in Pennsylvania and nationwide.  A recent joint analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Union of Concerned Scientists projects that by 2030 in Pennsylvania alone, the standards will cut carbon pollution from vehicles by 8.4 million metric tons—the equivalent of the annual pollution of 1,285, of today’s vehicles—and save 720 million gallons of fuel. 

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Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Summer on the Road: Going Further on a Gallon of Gas

As summer approaches, the dangers of our continued dependence on oil are apparent everywhere we look. Our oil dependence risks our environment to disasters like oil spills, endangers our climate with the nearly 2 billion metric tons of global warming pollution from oil consumption each year, and threatens our families’ health.  If our cars and trucks today met the proposed 54.5 mpg standard, Pennsylvanians would cut gasoline consumption by 603 million gallons over the course of this summer, slashing global warming pollution by more than 5.3 million metric tons and saving consumers over $2.

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News Release | PennEnvironment

Citizens Voice Support for Clean Cars at Philadelphia Hearing

More than one hundred citizens, including doctors, experts, religious leaders, elected officials, and small business owners turned out to voice their support for cleaner cars at a federal public hearing in Philadelphia today. The hearing, one of three being held nationally, was hosted by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation to gauge public opinion on new clean car standards being proposed for new vehicles sold from 2017-2025.

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