• Air: Good News And Bad


    Photo by Stuart Webster

    Falling ozone pollution levels have led southwestern Pennsylvania to be declared in “attainment” of the current federal health-based standard, a status that had eluded the region for decades. But at the same time, fine particulate pollution levels rose last year as a reminder of the air quality problems that linger in the region. Both ozone... More

  • Mobile Source Pollution



    The biggest air pollution culprit may be all of us Creeping into the Fort Pitt Tunnel, angling for space at the Parkway East’s Grant Street exit, or elbowing into a gap in traffic on the Veterans Bridge, tens of thousands of people drive or ride into and out of Downtown nearly every day. Trailing behind... More

  • Air Regulations: A Primer



    Air quality in the United Sates is governed by a complex regulatory structure that sets pollution limits and authorizes federal, state and local agencies to enforce them. The regulations which agencies enforce vary with the source of pollution, what they emit and the air quality in the region where they are located. Federal President Richard... More

  • Air Rules



    Regulating air quality faces new challenges Bluer skies over southwestern Pennsylvania owe a debt to local, state and federal regulations that have evolved over decades to spur technological advancements and investment in controlling air pollutants from industrial plants to the cars we drive. It wasn’t until the City of Pittsburgh adopted its Smoke Control Ordinance... More

  • Air Quality Update


    Photo by Jim R Rogers

    Recent concentrations of fine particulate and ground level ozone air pollution follow a familiar trend. Both are improving, the most recent federal single-year data suggest. But only ozone meets health-based air quality standards when longer-term levels are considered. The 8-hour annual average for ozone in southwestern Pennsylvania fell to .073 parts per million in 2016,... More

  • Drilling For Answers


    Photo by Maranie Staab

    Understanding the public health impact of fracking slowly gains ground Well pads, compressor stations, diesel truck traffic. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves many moving parts, some of which have the potential to vent pollutants into the air southwestern Pennsylvanians breathe. Fracking doesn’t consist of large, stationary pollution sources, like U.S. Steel’s metallurgical coke plant in... More

  • Energy’s Big Shift


    Photo by Tim Evanson

    Shale gas overtakes coal, but is it an environmentally kinder fuel? A decade ago, as Consol Energy’s 150th anniversary drew near, top executives began to take stock in where the company stood as a leading producer of coal and where that path would take it. Coal was in what CEO Nicholas DeIuliis called a “supercycle.”... More