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GASP, Residents to Hold Press Conference Telling ACHD: Revise Coke Oven Regs & Get a Handle on H2S Violations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

GASP, Residents to Hold Press Conference Telling ACHD: Revise Coke Oven Regs & Get a Handle on H2S Violations

PITTSBURGH – The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) will hold a press conference at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6 at the portico of the Pittsburgh City-County Building to tell the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD): Enough is enough with ongoing violations of the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) standard—it’s time to strengthen our local coke oven regulations.

At the event press conference, local residents impacted by poor air quality and fellow environmental activists will join GASP in calling on the Allegheny County Health Department to do what it promised more than a year ago: Revise coke oven regulations that would help reduce hydrogen sulfide, which is often associated by a tell-tale rotten egg stench.

Speakers will include:

  • GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini
  • Mark Dixon, local activist and filmmaker
  • Edith Abeyta, resident of North Braddock
  • Jonathan Reyes, resident of East Pittsburgh
  • Christine Graziano, resident of Shadyside
  • Jay Walker, a community organizer with Clean Air Council

GASP will then be presenting an associated petition with more than 500 signatures to the Allegheny County Board of Health, which meets at 12:30 p.m. the same day.

“More stringent coke-oven regulations are important because coke-making is a primary source of H2S in Allegheny County. In fact, U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works is the largest emitter of H2S in the entire state,” GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini said.

According to statistics self-reported from U.S. Steel and published on the Department of Environmental Protection eFacts website, Clairton Coke Works emitted 109 tons H2S in 2017, which are the latest statistics available.

“To put that into perspective: All other self-reported emissions combined for all sources in the entire state of Pennsylvania were only 59 tons,” she added.

While most smelly, airborne chemicals have no regulatory concentrations, hydrogen sulfide does. In Allegheny County there is a limit for hydrogen sulfide, which is monitored by ACHD. On average, that standard has been violated about 50 times a year for the past several years—and twice last month, according to preliminary data. 

“How many tens of thousands of odor complaints need to be submitted by countless residents before local officials do what is necessary to fix this most-unnecessary offense in this otherwise most-livable city?” Dixon said.  “And why has the number of SmellPGH complaints continued to rise even after US Steel announced that their post-fire repairs at Clairton Coke Works were completed?”

GASP is a nonprofit citizens’ group in Southwestern PA working for a healthy, sustainable environment. Founded in 1969, GASP has been a diligent watchdog, educator, litigator, and policy-maker on environmental issues, with a focus on air quality in the Pittsburgh region.

Media Contact:
Amanda Gillooly
Communications Manager
Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP)
amanda@gasp-pgh.org/ 412-924-0604

 

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