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Year of Successes in the Fight to Improve Air Quality; More Coming Next Year!

This past year, GASP continued its important work of fighting for better air quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania with tried-and-true methods as well as utilizing new, innovative strategies. Here are some highlights from our ongoing efforts:

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Marcellus Shale: With support from Colcom Foundation and YOU, we continue to keep close tabs on natural gas development. Our legal staff has spent much of the past year commenting on and appealing air quality permits related to this industry. These appeals have resulted in strengthened permits that reduce toxic air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, necessitate the use of best-available technology, and have made progress toward ensuring that sources of air pollution are aggregated when required by law.

Clean Air Dash & Festival: With support from the Heinz Endowments’ Breathe Project, many community and business sponsors, and YOU, we were able to put on a successful 5K. This first-time event celebrated Pittsburgh’s progress in reducing air pollution and challenged all of us to continue our hard work towards better air quality. The event also highlighted our Athletes United for Healthy Air campaign (AU). AU educates athletes about air quality issues in the Pittsburgh region, gives them tools to minimize their exposure, and empowers them to champion for healthy air.

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EPA School Flag Program: With support from the Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Program and YOU, we’ve launched the EPA School Flag Program. This hands-on, air quality awareness program uses color-coded flags to alert schools and surrounding communities to outdoor air quality. Each day, students check the Air Quality Index (AQI) forecast, found at airnow.gov, and raise a colored flag outside their school that represents the day’s expected air pollution level. Based on the color, teachers, coaches, and school personnel can take actions, if necessary, to help safeguard students from exposure to unhealthy levels of air pollutants. Raising the Green Flag

This program increases air quality education and awareness among students, and has the potential to improve their health. Youth are disproportionately affected by poor air quality, due to their developing lungs, large lung-to-body weight ratio, and high level of exercise.

In addition to the projects discussed above, we continue to advocate for the enforcement of Pittsburgh’s clean construction legislation, track potential changes to the County’s open burning regulation, and conduct educational presentations with students and community groups in the region. Your support is essential to continue all of these important air quality improvement efforts.

Please start or renew your membership, or give an additional year-end donation today! Donations can be sent by check or given online by clicking here. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

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