Letter to the editor: Use Clean Air Fund to protect our health
I’m glad that the Allegheny County Health Department is being sued over its plans to use the fines paid by polluters to renovate buildings. The fine money must be used to take care of people in Allegheny County and to clean the air.
Theresa Clift’s coverage of Clean Air Council and GASP’s recent action against the health department ( “Environmental groups sue Allegheny County over use of clean air funds for building renovations,” July 10, TribLIVE) illustrates that Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald needs to protect the Clean Air Fund, not use it for building renovations. Building renovations are capital expenses and should be paid for out of the county’s capital expenditures, not the Clean Air Fund.
For far too long industry has been allowed to pollute our air. We have suffered especially from fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone. Allegheny County residents have a cancer risk more than twice that of those living in surrounding rural areas and is in the top 2 percent of U.S. counties for cancer risk from hazardous air pollutants.
The Clean Air Fund must be used for programs that reduce pollution and protect our health, like upgrades of dirty diesel school buses and construction equipment.