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ACTION ALERT | Tell Allegheny County Council: Air Quality Permit Fee Changes Desperately Needed – Vote YES

The petition is now closed. Thank you to everyone who signed!

Imagine if you will, a world where local air quality program staffers must complete complex reviews and craft lengthy reports FOR the major industrial polluters they are charged with regulating.

For free.

Surprise: That’s what’s happening NOW right here in Allegheny County, where air quality staff members – inspectors, engineers, and attorneys – complete things like ambient air quality modeling, risk assessments, and requests for determinations for major polluters like U.S. Steel, a company that recorded $9.7 billions in revenue last year.

No fees for any of it.

Think that’s insane? We do, too. That’s why GASP has strongly supported the fee schedule changes proposed by both the state and the Allegheny County Health Department’s Air Quality Program.

Not gonna mince words: Approving the proposed fee schedule changes should be a no-brainer. You can read all the nitty gritty details about the proposed changes on our blog. But here are five quick reasons why the fee schedule changes should be approved without delay:

  1. The revised fee schedule largely mirrors those approved by the state that went into effect this past January. ACHD Deputy of Environmental Health Jim Kelly made this point clear to board members, reminding them that all counties in Pennsylvania except Allegheny have already adopted the fees.
  2. The Clean Air Act requires that the fees imposed on major sources of air pollution – also known as Title V sources – in Allegheny County be ‘sufficient to cover all reasonable (direct and indirect) costs required to develop and administer’ the health department’s Title V permit program. Because ACHD’s Air Quality Program receives little or no funding from Allegheny County itself, the fees paid by non-Title V sources in the County must also generate sufficient revenue to fund the non-Title V side of the program.
  3. The proposed fee schedule would increase application fees for plan approvals, operation permits, and the annual administration fees charged to operating permit holders that were based on a schedule set all the way back in the 1990s and last increased 14 years ago.
  4. The fee schedule sets the price tag for 14 new fees related to the permitting process – fees that will pay for services the Allegheny County Health Department currently provides, absorbing the costs at a time when the Air Quality Program needed to hire seven new staffers in the past two years because of a high volume of work. 
  5. The changes are expected to help buoy Air Quality Program enforcement and compliance efforts that directly impact public health.

You with us? Then sign our petition to urge Allegheny County Council members to vote YES on the fee schedule changes:

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  1. Mira Cahill says:

    We need to take action and this is the absolute least we can do! At least make sure they pay their fees and have fees for destroying our homes and environment!!!

    1. Nick says:

      What really needs to happen is that the MOn Valley works need to be shut down. USS has already told Wall Street that it won’t waste money updating those mills but will continue operating them until the government shuts them down. So…. why wait? Lets shut them down now. It wouldn’t take much to do it. Who is in?

  2. Celia Stock says:

    I hope that it is not too late to
    turn this around!!!

  3. Celia Stock says:

    I hope that it is not too late to
    start reversing this trend !!!

  4. Melanie Pallone says:

    Allegheny County might be the largest overall emitter of air pollution in PA, yet ironically, the only county that has not updated its fee schedule.

  5. Ma says:

    Wait till Shell starts adding to the mess! The whole area will be toxic!

  6. Kathleen Krebs says:


  7. Rob Pfaffmann says:

    The location and number of official air monitors inadequate . Conditions are often worse than reported. Pleas explain why is being done to correct this.

  8. Marta says:

    US Steel builds updated Mini mills with cleaner technologies in other states such as Alabama, yet refuses to invest in upgrading here. Meanwhile their workers are convinced they can’t do any better than these jobs, and so fight to keep the plant open. We’ve got to break this impasse.

  9. Jo says:

    Poor air quality is the reason we will likely leave the area. As some of our colleagues have. Polluters must have a grip on regulators.

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Group Against Smog and Pollution