History & Mission

History

The Group Against Smog and Pollution was founded in 1969 by volunteers concerned about air quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Over the years, GASP has continuously educated the public on questions of pollution and its remediation. Through public meetings, engagement with the press, educational events, permit reviews, and other means, GASP has worked tirelessly to explain and combat our air quality problems.

During these years, GASP has participated on various county, state, and national boards, with stakeholder groups, and on committees involved with environmental policy. Occasionally GASP presses its goals with litigation. In the 1970s, GASP went to Federal District Court to require Allegheny County to adopt standards based on the Clean Air Act. In the 1980s, GASP cooperated with the EPA in bringing about enforcement of air quality standards at the Clairton Coke Works. In the 1990s, GASP joined a successful EPA suit against LTV Corporation to enforce air quality standards at the firm’s Hazelwood plant, which subsequently closed. A GASP notice in 1998 of its intent to file suit against Shenango for long-standing air quality infractions at its Neville Island coke plant was preempted by a successful EPA suit on the same issue. In each case the court action resulted in substantial fines and/or remedial actions being imposed on the defendant.

For the above work, GASP has received many awards and has been mentioned in magazines, local and national television and radio, and newspapers throughout the country.

Mission Statement

The Group Against Smog and Pollution works to improve air quality to protect human, environmental, and economic health in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Vision:

GASP envisions a Southwestern Pennsylvania where the air we breathe supports human, environmental, and economic health and where:

  • Every citizen can breathe cleaner air, which at a minimum meets federal health based standards and is no longer listed as one of the top 10 most polluted areas in the United States.
  • Regional data will show over time that citizens have less prevalence of diseases and conditions that are proven to be linked to air pollution.
  • Citizens understand the health implications of polluted air and appreciate that clean air is imperative not only to good health but also to both a healthy environment and a healthy economy and where they hold policymakers accountable for regional air quality.
  • Policymakers consider new development through an ‘air quality lens.’
  • All regional businesses comply with their air quality permits. In the cases where they are not complying, regulatory agencies take swift action to stop violations of air quality permits and regulations.

Values:

GASP believes clean air is essential to a healthy population, a healthy environment, and a healthy economy. We believe in the rule of law and holding polluters and regulators accountable for their actions. We operate with scientific integrity, honesty, and measured judgment to ensure clean air for all.

Overarching Strategies to achieve our mission and vision:

  • Advocate in relevant forums: We use our expertise and influence to participate in local, state, and national environmental decisions pertaining to regional air quality.
  • Be a watchdog: We serve as an environmental watchdog that will advocate, mobilize action, and litigate when necessary to ensure regional polluters and regulators are held accountable.
  • Educate and Empower others: We provide accurate and thorough information to the public through our programs and initiatives and share know-how to empower citizens to actively participate in the decision-making process.
  • Build partnerships: We work in cooperation with like-minded individuals and groups to collect data, build synergies, and deliver greater impact.