TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Allegheny health board adds leeway to pollution applications

By Timothy Puko
Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

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 tpuko@tribweb.com.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Castle Shannon mayor honored by statewide association
  2. False arrest lawsuit against Pittsburgh police settled for $115,000
  3. Black leaders back developer’s offer, say it could save August Wilson Center
  4. 1 intruder killed, other shot and wounded in Carrick home invasion
  5. I-79 resurfacing to start in Robinson, Wexford areas
  6. Allegheny Health Network offers glimpse of Pine ‘medical mall’
  7. Hydro Green Energy wants to build hydroelectric plant on Monongahela River
  8. Newsmaker: Lorie Davis
  9. Penn Hills man identified as Allentown shooting victim
  10. Crisis of children seeps into Pittsburgh
  11. N.C. churches lend helping hands in Western Pa.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.