Updated: Sep 9
GASP joined residents and fellow air quality advocates Wednesday to speak out about a draft Title V operating permit for U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson Works, imploring Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) to do all it can to protect public health.
“We thank everyone who turned out to the rally and hearing and otherwise spoke out against unlawful pollution from U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson Works,” GASP Executive Director Patrick Campbell said.
Patrick was among those who attended a rally with residents and was the first to present public comment at the hearing. Here’s what he told ACHD:
Good evening. My name is Patrick Campbell, the executive director of the Group Against Smog & Pollution, an environmental watchdog working to improve regional air quality since 1969. Thank you for the opportunity to present public testimony to you today.
Generally, Title V operating permits for facilities are incredibly complex. They are especially complex for facilities like U.S Steel’s Edgar Thomson facility due to its long history of egregious air quality violations. GASP’s legal team has paid particular attention to the documents and will be submitting formal written comments that address deficiencies and omissions from the permit.
GASP attorneys will elaborate further on those technical points because we want to name the opportunity the county has to do right by community members who’ve deeply suffered for decades from air pollution originating from Edgar Thomson Works.
This is your opportunity to ensure this permit actually reduces air pollution helping to ensure a safe, thriving community. Residents have been showing up, speaking out, and demanding more robust regulatory action from ACHD.
We expect you to keep their voices, stories, and lived experiences in mind and hold U.S. Steel accountable for implementing equipment upgrades and necessary operational changes to bring the facility back into compliance with air quality rules.
Anything less would fail the men, women, and childing living in Braddock and Allegheny County who depend upon ACHD to fulfill its mission to “protect, promote, and preserve the health and wellbeing of all Allegheny County residents, particularly the most vulnerable.”
I hope you’re listening to the voices of those who have to breathe this pollution every day, the voices of those begging you to protect them too. Because it’s time for regulators and policymakers to stop making excuses for why U.S. Steel can’t rise to the basic regulatory occasion and time to start making positive change for the residents they promised to protect.
Lives depend upon it.
You can check out media coverage of the hearing here: