Monday, April 13, 2009

Pittsburgh Cooling

Since November, US Steel and their contemporaries have been idling workers and plants around the region. Then, at the beginning of April, US Steel announced that they were putting the brakes on remodeling their Clairton coke plant. Bad news for area construction jobs and just as importantly bad news for the environment.

While it's widely acknowledged that Pittsburgh has drastically improved its air quality since the 50s, we still struggle with bad air quality reports. In 2006, 2007, and 2008, Pittsburgh ranked at the bottom of cities, especially for short-term particle pollution. The improvements at Clairton (one of the worst offenders in the area) were intended to take a big bite out of our low ranking.

However, there is a bright side in all this idling. Without these plants running, and thousands of workers driving to them every day, Pittsburgh's air quality is improving. So, get outside. Walk to the unemployment office or your free classes at CCAC and breathe a little easier today. You may not be employed but at least you'll live longer.

1 comment:

Schultz said...

Here is what I would propose to make sure that when the economy gets back on track we have sustained improvement of our air quality. How about the Port Authority finally convert it's fleet of buses to run on compressed natural gas> DC's buses run on natural gas and unlike the buses here they do not emit the sooty black exhaust that has led to terrible air quality in downtown and has contributed to the air quality problems of the entire region. Did you know that as far back as 1990 the Port Authority was testing compressed natural gas fuel for its buses? Yep.

As part of a nationwide effort to test alternative fuels under the Alternative Fuels Initiative Program sponsored by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (now Federal Transit Administration), the Authority ordered five natural gas buses to test and evaluate their performance and effectiveness in helping to reduce air pollution. Testing of compressed natural gas was made possible through a special agreement with Equitable Gas Company, which contributed $500,000 toward the project for installation of a compressing and fueling station at the Authority’s West Mifflin Division.

I have more on this at "Green is Good."