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U.S. Steel: Prove Commitment to Community by Taking Voluntary Measures to Mitigate Air Pollution During Inversions

U.S. Steel talks a lot about community – about the importance of “engaging and supporting” its neighbors. Taking community-based actions? Not so much.

In fact, company CEO David B. Burritt recently noted that U.S. Steel recognizes that is a “pillar” of the community, and acknowledged the importance of being a good neighbor – a Pittsburgh virtue if there ever was one.  

“U.S. Steel recognizes the importance of the communities where we live and work,” Burritt said in a March 26 press release. “We want a sustainable, bright future for families in the Mon Valley and Greater Pittsburgh.”

That release was issued in the midst of a month marred by multiple exceedances of the state hydrogen-sulfide standard. March saw 11 days on which that standard was exceeded at at least one of Allegheny County Health Department’s H2S monitors.

But the company release – with its big talk about community caring – had nothing to do with air quality or its role as the county’s most significant source of emissions generally and H2S specifically. 

It was a press release announcing a commitment to….literacy and access to sports through a partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

While both of those causes are certainly admirable, the announcement was tone-deaf at best with the company expounding on its commitment to the community at a time when its operations were exacerbating our poor air quality – and in the wake of a series of public hearings during which residents demanded more accountability from both U.S. Steel and the officials who regulate it.

Since then, another spate of bad air days just last week prompted ACHD to issue Allegheny Alerts messages regarding air quality, even announcing Friday that it would begin sending warnings to the Mon Valley when air quality is expected to be unhealthy.

In it, ACHD Director Dr. Deborah Bogen wrote:

“While we are moving closer to having regulations in place that will require industries to take responsible action during poor air quality days, there have been too many incidents in the past few months to wait any longer. With the urging and support of the County Executive, the department will follow the spirit of the regulations, providing public notice of the potential for poor air quality, or the exceedance of the PM2.5 threshold at the Liberty monitor. We are hopeful that the sources in the Mon Valley will join us in this proactive step, acting responsibly to benefit the community in which they are located.”   

So, U.S. Steel: This is your chance. 

It’s your chance to prove that you really *do* care about the Clairton, North Braddock, and other Mon Valley communities that deal with your emissions on a daily basis by putting your proverbial money where your mouth is.

“It’s easy for a multi-billion company to feign concern for the community by cutting a five-figure check. It’s quite another thing to dial down production in an effort to limit the emissions being pumped into the community’s air shed during inversions and other conditions known to exacerbate poor air quality,” GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini said. “We are calling on U.S. Steel to do just that – commit to partnering with the Allegheny County Health Department and do your part to voluntarily mitigate air pollution on expected bad-air days.”

We invite you to join us in imploring U.S. Steel to do just that by contacting the company via phone call or email to tell them, “Enough is enough. U.S. Steel must commit to taking voluntary actions to reduce emissions on bad air quality days.” We encourage you to include in your message how air pollution from its facilities has impacted you and your family:

Amanda Malkowski

External Lead, Operational Communications

(412) 433-2512

almalkowski@uss.com

John Ambler

Vice President, Corporate Communications and Brand Management

(412) 433-2407

joambler@uss.com

 

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