Updated: Sep 13
Draft episodic weather regulations long-sought by residents and air quality advocates could be sent out for public comment as soon as March 3, despite a committee vote Monday night.
After about an hour of discussion, Allegheny County Health Department’s Air Advisory Committee voted unanimously to table the regulations, sending the draft back to the regulation subcommittee for more specifics.
For inquiring minds who want to know: The next regulation subcommittee is scheduled to meet on March 23. GASP will post and share the agenda and details on how to join the meeting as soon as that information is available.
GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini, who serves on the committee, agreed to table but stressed her concern that progress on the regulation cannot languish as it has for years.
“We have been pushing ACHD to update these woefully outdated and inadequate regulations for years – decades even – and we’re thankful that the department worked quickly this year to get a draft ready for public comment,” she said after the meeting. “As with all regulation changes, the devil is going to be in details. While GASP shares some of the concerns related to specificity, we want to reiterate how crucial it is that this process continues because it could potentially help to positively impact the public health of and quality of life for our Mon Valley neighbors.”
Although the committee ultimately did not provide a recommendation as it generally does, ACHD Air Quality Program Chief Jayme Graham said the department may still present the draft regulation in its current form to the Board of Health for a vote on whether or not to send it to public comment.
“Regulations take time,” she told the committee earlier in the meeting, adding that the Air Quality Program, regulation subcommittee and industry can work to amend and supplement the regulations “parallel” to the public comment stage.
So what happens next? We may have to wait until the next board of health meeting – 12:30 p.m. March 3 – to find out.
If they are presented for approval and greenlighted for public comment, ACHD would then post both the regulation and details on how to weigh in on its website. Generally, the public comment period lasts for 30 to 60 days.
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