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Episode 3: On the Fenceline

Episode 3: On the Fenceline

The average person takes over 23,000 breaths every single day, each one filled with oxygen, carbon dioxide–and pollution. Here in Allegheny County, residents have no choice but to breathe the eighth worst air in the nation. For those living nearby major polluters, the air is even worse, and health consequences are compounded by bothersome noise, unsightly smoke, and a constant coating of dust on absolutely everything. In this episode, we’re meeting fenceline communities right where they are to hear stories of environmental injustice.

Call to Action: Support environmental nonprofits! Everyone has a right to clean air, and we need you to join the fight. Donate to GASP or check out some of our partners:

Clean Air Council Breathe ProjectPennEnvironmentPennFutureWomen for a Healthy EnvironmentGrounded TechnologiesACCANHomewood Children’s Village


Dr. Ned Ketyer: Pediatrician, author of the PediaBlog, and one of the founders of the Pediatric Alliance, Dr. Ketyer is passionate about air quality issues. He is a strong supporter of incorporating environmental health into his patient treatment. He also encourages us to decrease our own air pollution emissions and be advocates for our air and climate.

Donna Frederick: Donna is a resident of Natrona, a community which is home to two facilities — Harsco Metals and Allegheny Technologies (ATI). ATI has never had a Title V operating permit as required by the Clean Air Act (CAA), which means that the Allegheny County Health Department–the group charged with enforcement of our air quality–is violating the CAA. ATI is breaking the law too; they have been violating limits on emissions from the electric arc furnaces they installed in 2002. Donna is an unfortunate witness to these countless violations and an advocate for herself and her community.

Melanie Meade: Melanie is a lifetime resident of Clairton and neighbor to the Clairton Coke Works–Allegheny County’s largest single source of air toxics. She is an active community member and a leader of a Group of Ten with the Clean Air Council.

Allegheny County Clean Air Now (ACCAN): ACCAN is a community group that was founded around issues of air pollution originating from the Shenango Coke Works. The plant closed in January 2016, and ACCAN has since shifted its mission to improving air quality for all of Allegheny County. Members in this episode include Thaddeus Popovich, Angelo Taranto, Michael Bett, Barbara Pace, Karen Grzywinski, and Kenneth Holmes.

Jordan Barsky: Audio for ACCAN was provided by Carnegie Mellon Playwright Jordan Barsky and was recorded following his play “The Fox or the Grape.” Learn more about his work at

Homewood Children’s Village: Dr. Shannah Tharp Gilliam is the Director of the Office of Research and Evaluation. Natalie Jellison is Homewood Children Village’s Program Coordinator for the Office of Child & Community Health.

Jamin Bogi: Jamin is GASP’s Policy and Outreach Coordinator and joined Emily for some of this episode’s hosting.


Disclaimer: The views expressed on On the Air are those of the persons appearing on the program and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Group Against Smog and Pollution.

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