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.