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

PA given “F” Grade for spending Volkswagen settlement money

[Harrisburg, PA] -- With “National Drive Electric Week” kicking off across the country, two non-profit organizations released new information grading Pennsylvania officials for the state’s track record allocating its portion of the Volkswagen settlement funds.

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Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Volkswagen Settlement State Scorecard

It has been about three years since Volkswagen settled with federal authorities for cheating emissions laws in hundreds of thousands of vehicles advertised as “clean diesel.”[1] The settlement included billions of dollars to buy back the offending vehicles from consumers, as well as nearly $3 billion for the Environmental Mitigation Trust, to be distributed to every state and territory where offending vehicles were sold.[2] The Environmental Mitigation Trust funds are designed to be used for transportation projects that reduce pollution in an effort to mitigate the harm done by Volkswagen t

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Dozens of elected officials join together to call for clean air, crackdown on industrial pollution

(Pittsburgh)-- A group of 63 elected officials from across Allegheny County are calling for cleaning up the region’s air and cracking down on industrial polluters. In a letter released today by PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center, the officials call for stricter, health-based emissions limits and stronger penalties for illegal pollution.

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Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Elected Officials for Clean Air

Allegheny County is a great place to live―but air pollution is threatening residents' health. Sadly, our region has some of the worst air in the country. Allegheny County is in the worst 2% of the U.S. for cancer risk from air pollution and kids in some area schools suffer from asthma more than twice as often as state and national averages.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Allegheny County Council Approves Motion Supporting Health Department’s Efforts to Ensure U.S. Steel Complies with Air Emissions Standards

Allegheny County Council on Tuesday passed a motion of council that endorses recent enforcement actions undertaken by the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) intended to foster compliance with existing air quality regulations for the good of public health—especially as it relates to U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works.

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