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Clean Construction Legislation

In 2011 Pittsburgh City Council passed the Clean Air Act, aka “Clean Construction” legislation, requiring city and city-subsidized construction projects over $2.5 million to require the use of some percentage of cleaner construction equipment. The legislation had the best intentions but as written was difficult for the city to enforce and for contractors to understand what was expected of them. In 2016, revised legislation was introduced and passed by City Council. The new legislation, known as Clean Construction Diesel Operations, is more straightforward, making it easier for all parties to understand and comply with. The law went into effect on October 1, 2016. We are waiting to learn from the City’s Department of Public Works which upcoming project will be the first to include clean construction requirements. The legislation can found here.

Meanwhile, GASP is working to get the various authorities, such as the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to enact their own clean construction policies. And we continue to encourage local institutions to follow Chatham University and UPMC’s lead in voluntarily passing their own clean construction policies.

Why focus on reducing emissions from construction equipment? The construction industry uses more diesel engines than any other sector, and according to EPA, it generates roughly 32% of all land-based non-road nitrogen oxide emissions and more than 37% of land-based particulate matter 10 micrometers or less in size.

People using diesel equipment and those living or working near areas where diesel activity is concentrated are at greater risk of negative health outcomes from this pollutant. Thankfully, solutions exist! Please visit this Green Building Alliance article, which further explains Pittsburgh’s “Clean Construction” legislation and provides information on a funding source available to small construction companies looking to upgrade their equipment.

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Group Against Smog and Pollution