Updated: Mar 2
It was a busy year for us here at GASP, one spent doing what we do best: Advocating for policy changes to help improve air quality, educating folks (young and old) about the impacts of air pollution, and acting as a legal watchdog to both industrial polluters and the governmental agencies charged with regulating them.
And as we head into the waning days of 2023, we wanted to stop and say THANK YOU. Helping to initiate real policy changes at the local and regional levels takes sustained tenacity and grassroots support. Truly, we couldn’t do what we do without your help.
This year, GASP continued its dogged pursuit of improved air quality - with a special focus on the issues being faced by our neighbors in the Mon Valley living in the shadow of U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works. We called out the polluter for its role in the Mon Valley’s longstanding hydrogen sulfide issue, demanded improved communications and better transparency from the Allegheny County Health Department, and helped residents navigate and speak out about a high-profile settlement agreement regarding emissions from the Edgar Thomson plant.
But our advocacy work extends beyond the Mon Valley. This year, our legal watchdog efforts included reviewing and commenting on myriad air pollution-related policies and permits to ensure that all the applicable rules and safeguards were, in fact, being applied. Just this fall, our attorneys informed a Beaver County landfill opportunity of our intent to sue if issues with its air quality permits weren’t resolved (more to come on that).
This year we were also notified that the EPA awarded us funding to expand local citizen air quality monitoring and fill in data gaps (!!!). Despite regulatory air quality monitors and a growing network of citizen-owned low-cost sensors, it’s still difficult for residents to know exactly what pollutants they’re inhaling.
GASP is teaming up with six fellow environmental groups to help solve that environmental justice issue locally thanks to a nearly $500,000 EPA grant. The project is expected to enhance ambient air quality monitoring in communities that are underserved, historically marginalized, and overburdened by pollution. We can’t wait to get started.
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you a little about our education programming, too. In addition to embarking on the second year of our Fresh Voices for Clean Air youth education initiative, we crafted a primer for municipal officials and staff so they can better understand - and serve you regarding - important air quality issues.
Stay tuned, GASP will be hosting workshops throughout 2023. If you’re a municipal official or staff member reading this and you’d like more information, don’t hesitate to email our executive director Patrick Campbell at email@example.com).
From our gang to yours: Happy New Year. We look forward to working alongside you in 2023.
P.S. If you’d like to make a year-end, tax-deductible donation to help us start the new year on strong financial footing, you have until Dec. 31. Checks can be mailed to our office at 1133 S. Braddock Ave #1a, Swissvale, PA 15218. Donations may also be made on our website.