Pittsburgh City Council supports health department’s clean air actions | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Pittsburgh City Council supports health department’s clean air actions

Bob Bauder
1359940_web1_Pittsburgh-City-Councilman-Corey-O-Connor
Bob Bauder | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Councilman Corey O’Connor outlines a council resolution on Monday July 1, 2019, pledging unanimous support for the Allegheny County Health Department’s efforts to force companies to abide by clean air standards.

Pittsburgh City Council on Monday pledged unanimous support for the Allegheny County Health Department’s efforts to uphold clean air standards, particularly at U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson and Clairton Coke Works plants.

U.S. Steel last week agreed to pay $2.7 million in fines from the Allegheny County Health Department related to 2018 air pollution violations at the Clairton facility, according to a settlement agreement announced on Friday.

“Environmental stewardship remains U. S. Steel’s top priority,” U.S. Steel spokeswoman Amanda Malkowski said. “We are committed to continuing to work with the Allegheny Health Department and members of the communities where we operate.”

Councilman Corey O’Connor of Swisshelm Park and Councilwoman Erika Strassburger of Squirrel Hill sponsored a “will of council” supporting the health department’s efforts to force clean air compliance. The pledge carries no regulatory authority, but O’Connor said it was important for public officials to show support for clean air efforts.

“The city of Pittsburgh is backing the Allegheny County Health Department’s air quality regulations,” he said. “The U.S. Steel Edgar Thomson plant and the Clairton Coke Works facilities must be held accountable.”

Environmental groups earlier this year sued U.S. Steel, alleging the company had violated the federal Clean Air Act since a Dec. 24 fire at the Clairton Coke Works damaged equipment, hindering the facility’s ability to clean coke oven gas and control pollution.

An East Pittsburgh resident also filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, alleging that U.S. Steel was negligent and reckless by allowing the plant to continue operating after the fire and for failing to notify residents immediately.

Representatives of PennEnvironment and the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) lauded City Council for its action.

“Pollution coming in from out of state is not an excuse to not take care of pollution we have right here in Allegheny County,” said Ashleigh Deemer, Western Pennsylvania Director for PennEnvironment. “We can only control what we can control. We absolutely have the authority to hold our local polluters in the county to the Clean Air Act, and we should.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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.