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GASP Continues Air Quality Advocacy, But We Need Your Help to Keep Up the Fight

Dear Fellow Breathers,

While so much in our world and our daily lives have changed over the last few weeks, your friends here at the Group Against Smog and Pollution want you to know that one thing remains the same: Our commitment to ensuring people in western Pennsylvania can breathe easy.

Our diligent staff continues to work (from home, right now, like so many others) on pressing air quality issues that impact the health and welfare of our local communities and the residents who live in them. We want you to know we continue to keep a close eye on air quality bad actors, as well as the regulators charged with ensuring they comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

With so much upsetting news, we thought it was the perfect time to tell you something good. So, without further ado, here are five pieces of good news about our work around air quality:

Allegheny County Council on April 7 introduced long-sought “clean construction” legislation. Similar to guidelines passed by the City of Pittsburgh back in 2016, the proposed legislation requires all county construction projects that cost $2.5 million or more to use the best available control technology, such as diesel particulate filters, on all on-road vehicles such as dump trucks, and off-road vehicles like backhoes and bulldozers. Diesel-powered construction equipment emitted more than 130 tons of fine particulate matter in the county in 2014, so this legislation would help improve regional air quality if implemented and reduce construction workers’ exposure to diesel emissions.

Speaking of vehicle emissions: We recently teamed up with South Fayette Township to remind residents that one of the simplest ways to improve their air quality is to stop idling their cars. GASP provided “No Idling” signage, which the township posted in five of its parks, and its public works garage. Every 10 minutes of vehicle idling emits, on average, a pound of heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

GASP Education & Events Coordinator uses pig lungs to demonstrate how the organ works.

Even though in-person classes have been canceled at Pennsylvania schools, our education efforts have continued! Our education coordinator, Chelsea, has been hard at work creating at-home activities about air pollution families can take part in using items they probably already have at home. She also created an online volunteer training program for folks who want to learn more about air pollution and do more to help improve it. Stay tuned: We’ll also be launching a series of fun, educational videos. 

Our attorneys continue their important watchdog work, reviewing and commenting on air quality permits and fighting to ensure that the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) uses Clean Air Fund money for clean air projects; not multi-million-dollar office building repairs. The lawsuit we filed jointly with Clean Air Council against ACHD to make sure that happens is still ongoing. Please bookmark our website, or join us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with this and other watchdog work.

GASP continued to push ACHD to establish procedures to stem industrial pollution during inversions, and implement stronger coke oven regulations. Late last year we delivered a petition to ACHD signed by more than 500 people calling for them to achieve the Pennsylvania hydrogen sulfide standard by tightening up the county’s coke oven regulations. Health department officials have committed to work on them.

We hope it’s some comfort knowing that GASP is still doing what we’ve done for more than 50 years: Advocating for progressive policies, educating people of all ages about air pollution, empowering people to be air quality advocates, and engaging in watchdog work both in and out of the courtroom.

All of us here at GASP realize watchdog work is more important now than ever. Studies have repeatedly shown air pollution contributes to myriad health ailments, from asthma and cardiovascular disease to dementia and cancer. Now, research suggests chronic air pollution can even contribute to poorer COVID-19 outcomes.

We know that we are in uncertain times, that many have been laid off, and that many more have had to temporarily shutter their businesses. We understand that so many are facing unprecedented financial insecurity. Small nonprofits like GASP are facing those same issues. That’s why support from members like you is crucial now. Making a one-time or recurring donation or renewing your membership are just a couple of ways you can offer help. We cordially invite you to sign up to be a GASP volunteer, to bookmark our website for the latest on air quality issues, and to join the conversation by liking and following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

If you are able to make a donation, please know that we are so appreciative and that the money you entrust us with will be used wisely. As always, those who would like to make a donation may do so via check or via PayPal. If you would prefer, our office manager Kathy Lawson can also process credit card donations over the phone – just email her at kathy@gasp-pgh.org.

From the GASP family to yours: Thank you, thank you, thank you for continuing to support our work. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

For Clean Air,

Jonathan Nadle, President

Rachel Filippini, Executive Director

 

All contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent permitted by law. The official registration and financial information of Group Against Smog & Pollution, Inc. may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling, toll-free, (800) 732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

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