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A Major Source Permit That Has Major Problems

In October, the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) issued the draft Title V Operating Permit for the ATI Allegheny Ludlum steel mill in Brackenridge. This Major Source of air pollution has never had a Title V permit in the fifteen years that ACHD has had the authority to issue them. A Major Source’s Title V Operating Permit is like a…

Almost One-Third of Major Sources of Air Pollution in Southwestern PA Do Not Have a Current Operating Permit

In August 2015 and May 2016, the Allegheny County Controller’s office reported on the Allegheny County Health Department’s (“ACHD”) compliance with regulations governing the timely issuance and renewal of operating permits for sources of air pollution in Allegheny County. The 2015 report discussed five major sources in the county that had never been issued operating permits. The 2016 report highlighted…

Local Nonprofits Demand Strong Permit for McConway and Torley Steel Foundry

On September 14, at the Allegheny County Board of Health meeting, a dozen local community and environmental non-profit organizations delivered a letter calling on Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Health Department, to issue an operating permit to the McConway & Torley plant that would prioritize community health by meaningfully reducing emissions of benzene, manganese, and other pollutants from the…

You + GASP = Cleaner Air!

Dear Fellow Breather, As we welcome in warmer temperatures, we also dread an increase in high ozone pollution days, because summer weather is more favorable to ozone formation. Ozone is created by reactions of emissions from vehicle exhaust, industrial facilities, gasoline vapors, chemical solvents, and natural sources, in the presence of sunlight. In 2015, Allegheny County had nine air quality…

Methane From Natural Gas Industry Must Be Better Controlled

Methane is the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas in the U.S., and at least a quarter of it comes from our natural gas industry. It’s more than 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year span. Methane emissions from this industry must be addressed if we are to combat climate change. Public health is at risk from climate change….

Comment on Allegheny County’s 2017 Air Monitor Plan

In Allegheny County, the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) manages a network of monitors that sample various pollutants in the county’s air. Each year, ACHD publishes their plans for the network and invites the public to comment on these plans. That’s where you come in! ACHD is taking comments on their 2017 plan, but only until 5 p.m. on June…

A Change in the Air After the Closure of the Shenango Coke Plant

Spring 2016 is proving to be unlike any previous spring for residents of communities surrounding Neville Island. Since the DTE Energy Shenango Coke Plant ended production in January, pollution from the battery no longer intrudes in their lives. Daily routines, as ordinary as opening windows to let in an evening breeze, are joyful events for many residents. Gretchen Anderson and…

Making the Connection: Air Pollution and Brain Health

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Our region must take advantage of funding to reduce toxic diesel pollution

Whether you live near train tracks, work near a construction site, or are just standing in line for a bus, you are likely exposed to diesel emissions sometime during the day. Diesel particulate matter is a pervasive “toxic air contaminant” according to the California Air Resources Board, for which there is no safe level of exposure. Diesel particulate matter poses…

Do You Know a School that Needs the EPA School Flag Program?

Students: Looking to increase air pollution awareness at your school, or spark sustainability efforts? Parents: Want your children to know more about air pollution, how they can protect themselves from it, and how they can reduce it? Teachers: Need a hands-on activity and a ton of air quality content? Then participate in the EPA School Flag Program! This program uses…