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 | Environment America

Statement: U.S. House of Representatives passes historic climate investments

WASHINGTON -- Following a summer of extreme heat and drought, the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376), which includes groundbreaking levels of investment to reduce global warming pollution, clear the air we breathe, clean up toxic sites and protect our lands, waters and wildlife. 

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News Release | PennEnvironment

Statement: Infrastructure bill will mean cleaner air, water and energy for U.S.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives voted to build a bridge to a brighter future by passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on November 5th. This major bipartisan package will improve transportation, clean water, power infrastructure and broadband access across the United States over the coming decades. The bill was supported by 10 members of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation, including Republican Brian Fitzpatrick and all nine Democratic members. Up next: a budget reconciliation bill that would help the U.S. stall climate change and clean up our environment. The Build Back Better Act includes clean energy tax incentives and other investments to tackle pollution. 

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Statement: PennEnvironment applauds U.S. EPA decision to penalize Neville Island polluter for dangerous air pollution

PITTSBURGH --  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a notice of violation to Metalico, Inc for air pollution from the company’s metal-grinding facility on Neville Island. This legal action comes after years of public outcry from local residents about pollution being released by the plant, including large spikes in particulate matter following a serious fire at the facility earlier this year. A notice of violation is a formal step in the Clean Air Act enforcement process that can lead to further action, including a fine.

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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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