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Methodologies being questioned by local environmental organizationsPITTSBURGH,
Feb. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) will hold a hearing tonight in
Clairton, Pa. to receive input from the community on the department's plan to improve air quality in and around the
Clairton corridor. The hearing will take place in the
Clairton City School District cafeteria at
Under the Federal Clean Air Act, the ACHD is required to issue a State Implementation Plan (SIP) to show how polluted areas will attain federal health standards that ensure persons are breathing healthy air. ACHD released a proposed SIP for particulate matter (PM) 2.5 or fine soot pollution last month. The county Board of Health (BOH) began accepting comments on
January 18 and will continue to do so through
While the region's air quality has improved considerably over the past several years, there is much work to be done. Tonight's hearing offers
Clairton citizens the ideal opportunity to make their voices heard, and to advocate for the clean air that's vital to their health and for the continued economic growth of the region.
Many local environmental groups will be present and submit comments on the SIP. While groups such as Citizens for
Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture), Clean Air Council, and Clean Water Action are pleased that ACHD has proposed a framework for improving air quality in the
Clairton area, the groups have major concerns about serious flaws in the plan and whether it demonstrates that
Clairton citizens will realize their right to breathe clean air when the plan has been implemented.
"We have some concerns about the computer models for the air pollution," said
David Presley, a staff attorney with the Clean Air Council. "For example, the model relies on wind speed and direction estimates to blow a lot of this particulate matter away from the area in order to attain compliance with federal standards. But we aren't convinced the wind speed and direction estimates are appropriate."
"Many residents of the
Clairton area plan to attend the hearing to tell the Health Department that they need a good air quality plan to improve the air their families breathe," said
Jeff White, a Clean Water Action Steering Committee member and resident of
Clairton residents deserve to have the best plan in place to improve the air quality where they live," noted
Tiffany Hickman, western
Pennsylvania outreach coordinator for PennFuture. "If there are flaws in that plan, they need to be addressed."
The full SIP document can be viewed at the Allegheny County Health Department website,
PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization founded in 1998. PennFuture's activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local, state, and federal courts; advocating and advancing legislative action on the state and federal level; public education; and assisting citizens in public advocacy.