Environmental Groups, Citizens, Urge Health Board to Pass New Air Guidelines

Deanna Garcia May 2, 2012

Members of the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) and Allegheny County residents implored the County Board of Health Wednesday to pass updated and strengthened air toxic guidelines (ATG), the document used to permit new sources of air pollution in the county.

GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini said the hope was that the board would have new guidelines to consider at their meeting on Wednesday, but they didn’t.

“We can appreciate that this is a complex and difficult task, and the committee wants to make sure it’s done right. We are optimistic that a revised ATG will come across your desk in the near future,” she said.

Residents are concerned that existing sources of air pollution won’t be taken into account when permits for new sources are being considered. Ben Avon resident Jane Angelini said she spoke three years ago on the same issue, and urged the board then to pass revised ATG. It wasn’t done then, but a committee was formed and has been working on the issue for two years.

“Please, please, either the next meeting in July or September, let’s get this issue before all of you and let’s get this put to bed, and let’s get some up to date air toxic guidelines in place,” she said.

Fellow Ben Avon resident Ted Popovich delivered a bag full of surgical masks to the board of health. There were 800 of the masks, each containing the signature of concerned residents.