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 report: Millions of Pennsylvanians experienced frequent unhealthy air in 2020

[PITTSBURGH]– Millions of Pennsylvanians suffered through frequent levels of elevated air pollution in 2020, according to a new report from PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group. The study used statistics from 2020, the most recent data available. Air pollution increases the risk of premature death, asthma attacks, cancer and other adverse health impacts.

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News Release | PennEnvironment

PennEnvironment releases letter signed by more than 100 businesses and organizations supporting a plastic bag ban in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- PennEnvironment and 100 businesses, organizations and community leaders from every city council district in Pittsburgh have signed a letter released Wednesday urging local leaders to ban single-use plastic bags.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Release: Port Authority of Allegheny County urged to transition to electric vehicles

PITTSBURGH -- PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center and sixteen other groups representing a broad cross-section of Pittsburghers submitted a letter Friday calling on the Port Authority of Allegheny County to commit to fully electrify its fleet, to commit to using energy generated 100% from renewable sources, and to create detailed plans to ensure these goals

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News Release | PennEnvironment

Enviro groups ask court to find U.S. Steel liable for more than 12,000 Clean Air Act violations

PITTSBURGH – U.S. Steel violated the Clean Air Act more than 12,000 times at its three Pittsburgh-area plants, including Clairton Coke Works, the largest coke oven facility in North America, according to a motion filed in federal court Thursday by PennEnvironment and Clean Air Council. The violations, which the groups say are proven by U.S. Steel’s own statements and compliance reports, occurred when the company operated Mon Valley Works for more than three months in 2018 and 2019 while required pollution control equipment was out of commission.

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News Release | Environment America

Statement: House passes landmark water and transportation bill to restore and enhance U.S. infrastructure

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a legislative package on Thursday that would improve water infrastructure, protect drinking water, and repair and expand our transportation system.  The package combined several bills, including the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021 and the AQUA Act, under the umbrella of the INVEST in America Act.  

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