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 Research & Policy Center

New study shows successful policies for reducing single-use plastic waste by holding producers responsible

[Philadelphia] -- The PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center released a new report today highlighting the promising new policy trend known as producer responsibility, which works to keep product-makers--not individuals and taxpayers--responsible for the waste their products create. 

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News Release | PennEnvironment

Environmental Groups File Federal Lawsuit Over Air Pollution from Industrial Flares

Washington, D.C. – A coalition of ten environmental organizations today sued the Trump Administration’s EPA over its failure to reduce toxic air pollution from industrial flares at petrochemical plants, gas processing facilities, municipal solid waste landfills, and other large industrial sites.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

PennEnvironment statement on county controller’s audit of ACHD’s Air Program: Progress has been made, but continued effort needed

PITTSBURGH -- Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner released a new audit Tuesday of the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) Air Quality program. The report found encouraging progress at ACHD, specifically in addressing the chronic problem of expired or unissued Clean Air Act permits, but stated that ACHD “continued to fall short of full compliance with its obligations under federal law."

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Pittsburghers hold ‘Toxic Ten Week’ to clean up region’s air pollution

PITTSBURGH -- As local officials fail to protect Pittsburghers from air pollution, local organizations and concerned citizens are kicking off "Toxic Ten Week," a campaign with daily activities meant to spur officials in Allegheny County to action.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Statement: Environmental Protection Agency finalizes catastrophic methane rule

PITTSBURGH -- The Trump administration finalized New Source Performance Standards Thursday for oil and gas companies. The changes will allow the industry to release methane at sites across the country with little to no accountability. Methane, which is a commonly released gas during the extraction of fossil fuels, is a highly dangerous greenhouse gas that is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

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