Letter to the editor: Use Clean Air Fund for clean air
Every spring, we complain about how bad our allergies are. But we don't seem to realize that it's more than allergies. As we push through pollen season to enjoy these summer months, we are also pushing through the negative impacts of air pollution. Allegheny County is in the top 2 percent of the United States for cancer risk from air pollution and our air is even worsening: This year the American Lung Association dropped us from 17th to 10th worst in the nation for fine particulate matter pollution.
Now the Allegheny County Health Department is planning to use millions of dollars from our Clean Air Fund — which collects fines paid by industries illegally polluting our skies — for office renovations rather than for our health, thinking we may not notice through the smoke ( “More money from Allegheny County's ‘Clean Air Fund' goes to office renovation” ).
Pittsburghers have a right to clean air, and we as a community have to demand from our local leaders the action we deserve. We must hold County Executive Rich Fitzgerald responsible for his failure to act and demand that the Clean Air Fund be protected and used for real programs that improve air quality and in turn reduce the negative health impacts of air pollution on our community.
The writer is a student at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio.