PITTSBURGH -- The Allegheny County Board of Health announced on Wednesday that it is hiring Dr. Debra Bogen, formerly a pediatrician with UPMC and Pittsburgh’s Children's Hospital, as the new director of the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD).
In response to the new hiring, Zachary Barber, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center’s Clean Air Advocate, issued the following statement:
Dr. Bogen is taking charge of the Health Department at a critical moment. Pittsburghers are looking to her for bold, swift action to tackle the industrial air pollution that makes Allegheny County one of the most dangerous places in the country to breathe. PennEnvironment looks forward to working with Dr. Bogen to make clean air in Allegheny County a top priority.
PennEnvironment applauds Dr. Bogen’s track record of protecting the health of our children as a pediatrician. Mountains of evidence show that air pollution is one of the most pressing dangers to the health of our children and a main trigger of asthma attacks that keep students out of school. We look forward to reining in this far-reaching threat.
There is a lot of hard work to be done to address air pollution in western Pennsylvania. Fortunately, we know the steps that need to be taken and have the tools at our fingertips to clean up our air.
Dr. Bogen’s first priorities should include:
- Closing the backlog of Clean Air Act permits for Allegheny County’s dirtiest polluters;
- Ensuring stiff penalties for dangerous and illegal air pollution; and
- Using the Health Department’s authority under the federal Clean Air Act and county air quality laws to shut down the worst repeat offenders.
PennEnvironment and the Health Department have the same mission: to keep our families and neighbors safe and healthy. For decades, PennEnvironment has used hard-hitting research, public education, and citizen engagement to address Pittsburgh’s air pollution challenges. We’re calling on Dr. Bogen to work with us to ensure that everybody in Allegheny County has clean air to breathe every single day of the year.
PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization. We are dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. For more information, visit www.pennenvironmentcenter.org