Allegheny health board adds leeway to pollution applications
Allegheny County health officials voted Wednesday to give air polluters more leeway, reversing a decision from November that drew the ire of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
The County Board of Health voted 7-0 with two abstentions to allow applicants for air pollution permits to judge the health risks their pollution creates at the closest neighboring inhabited building.
That makes slightly more lenient rules the board adopted when it passed a long-awaited overhaul of guidelines to manage toxic air pollution. Under the previous vote, polluters would have had to estimate their health impact based on pollution levels at their property lines, which would have allowed less time for pollution to dissipate.
“We got what overall I think was a good policy,” said Donald S. Burke, a board member and dean of the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health who had spearheaded the overhaul. “We made some changes I probably wouldn't have made, but if it were a plan that was bad for public health, I wouldn't have voted for it.”
Fitzgerald met with Burke and others ahead of the vote, Burke said, declining to give further details.
Fitzgerald said in November he expected the board to revise its decision on where to measure impact because he offered the change as a compromise to the local business community, which opposed the rules. Fitzgerald could not immediately be reached for comment.
“I think working hand-in-hand with the county executive is in everybody's best interest,” said board member Edith Shapira, who made the motion at November's meeting to exclude the compromise from guidelines.
“I appreciate the leadership of the board of health in looking at and amending the air toxics guidelines to reflect a compromise between the environmental community and business community. Obviously, this is a complex issue,” said Fitzgerald.
Timothy Puko is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7991 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Neighbor arrested after McKeesport house fire, authorities say
- Kennywood fanatic, 82, rides Jack Rabbit 95 times in a row
- Early success in White House race a pleasant surprise for Carson
- Memorial Day service in National Cemetery of the Alleghenies still growing
- Man shot while driving through Liberty Tunnel
- 4 dogs found dead in Beechview home; woman charged
- DOJ program goal: Increased trust between law enforcement, community
- Journalist Burzynski found place in public relations, military
- Pa. gaming industry’s growth amplifies siren call for addicts
- Newsmaker: Rich Jones
- Thrill of the chase: Kennywood fanatic, 82, rides Jack Rabbit 95 times in a row