Hotline, Winter 2004
by Rachel Filippini, GASP Executive Assistant
As most of you know, GASP has been very engaged in the diesel issue for the last year and a half. We thought it would be useful to give readers a sense of how the Heavy Duty Diesel Anti-Idling Ordinance for Allegheny County has been progressing:
Working with GASP, County Councilman Rich Fitzgerald finalizes and presents an anti-idling ordinance to County Council. It is passed unanimously by County Council and later signed by County Executive Jim Roddey. County Council leaves it so that the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) has to determine many of the particular rules and regulations for allowable idling and exceptions.
The ACHD Board of Health reports that the ordinance has been passed to them from County Council and announces that a public hearing will be held in October, an opportunity for citizens to comment on the ordinance.
The ACHD Board of Health holds a Public Hearing. GASP submits comments and urges our membership and others to do so too.
The ACHD Board of Health decides to initially focus its attention on school buses, and charges the Air Quality Division’s Advisory Committee and its subcommittees to develop the specific parameters of the anti-idling ordinance for school buses. ACHD reviews the information gathered in their recent survey of Allegheny County school districts’ school bus operations and finds that very few school districts have idling policies. Of the 38 districts that reported complete data, two had written idling policies, two had unwritten idling policies, 12 without policies had considered a policy but had not implemented one, and 21 districts would find a countywide school bus idling regulation helpful.
The Regulation Subcommittee of the Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee to the Board of Health meets and many issues are debated, including time restrictions and exemptions such as temperature requirements. The Regulation Subcommittee compiles three options for the ACHD Board of Health to consider.
January 7, 2004
The ACHD Board of Health concludes that this topic is more complex than first thought and more time is needed by the Regulation Subcommittee, thus it is sent back to committee and not voted on at this Board of Health meeting.
January 15, 2004
The Regulation Subcommittee meets again to rehash particulars; GASP is present at this and all previous meetings listed to give input. GASP’s goal is to see a stringent, yet workable ordinance that will be enforced. GASP overall is pleased with the latest round of revisions to the ordinance which will next go to the Air Quality Division’s Advisory Committee in late January.