Updated: Sep 13, 2022
The petition is now closed. Thank you to everyone who signed!
Imagine if you will, a world where local air quality program staffers must complete complex reviews and craft lengthy reports FOR the major industrial polluters they are charged with regulating.
Surprise: That’s what’s happening NOW right here in Allegheny County, where air quality staff members – inspectors, engineers, and attorneys – complete things like ambient air quality modeling, risk assessments, and requests for determinations for major polluters like U.S. Steel, a company that recorded $9.7 billions in revenue last year.
No fees for any of it.
Think that’s insane? We do, too. That’s why GASP has strongly supported the fee schedule changes proposed by both the state and the Allegheny County Health Department’s Air Quality Program.
Not gonna mince words: Approving the proposed fee schedule changes should be a no-brainer. You can read all the nitty gritty details about the proposed changes on our blog. But here are five quick reasons why the fee schedule changes should be approved without delay:
The revised fee schedule largely mirrors those approved by the state that went into effect this past January. ACHD Deputy of Environmental Health Jim Kelly made this point clear to board members, reminding them that all counties in Pennsylvania except Allegheny have already adopted the fees.
The Clean Air Act requires that the fees imposed on major sources of air pollution – also known as Title V sources – in Allegheny County be ‘sufficient to cover all reasonable (direct and indirect) costs required to develop and administer’ the health department’s Title V permit program. Because ACHD’s Air Quality Program receives little or no funding from Allegheny County itself, the fees paid by non-Title V sources in the County must also generate sufficient revenue to fund the non-Title V side of the program.
The proposed fee schedule would increase application fees for plan approvals, operation permits, and the annual administration fees charged to operating permit holders that were based on a schedule set all the way back in the 1990s and last increased 14 years ago.
The fee schedule sets the price tag for 14 new fees related to the permitting process – fees that will pay for services the Allegheny County Health Department currently provides, absorbing the costs at a time when the Air Quality Program needed to hire seven new staffers in the past two years because of a high volume of work.
The changes are expected to help buoy Air Quality Program enforcement and compliance efforts that directly impact public health.
You with us? Then sign our petition to urge Allegheny County Council members to vote YES on the fee schedule changes:
The petition is now closed.