Updated: Sep 14
Allegheny County Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a long-sought ‘clean construction’ ordinance that will help reduce diesel emissions and improve local air quality.
The ordinance, introduced by Councilwoman Anita Prizio earlier this year, was approved by a vote 13-0. All 13 members present at Tuesday’s meeting asked to be named as co-sponsors.
“I think this is great legislation – it will help clean our air. It’s pretty easy to figure out: Clean air is better than dirty air,” Council Vice President Robert Macey said prior to the vote. “We just thought this is a no-brainer.”
GASP, which has been advocating for “clean construction” policies locally for years, lauded council for taking this step – one that will provide a boost to local air quality. GASP played a key role in the passage of the “Clean Construction” law passed by the city in 2016 – one the county ordinance closely mirrors.
The ordinance requires Allegheny County government construction projects that cost $2.5 million or more to utilize both ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and diesel emission control strategies on construction vehicles. These guidelines also require the use of best-available control technology – like diesel particulate filters – on all on-road equipment and off-road equipment involved in those projects.
“Diesel-powered construction equipment emitted more than 123 tons of fine particulate matter in 2017 in Allegheny County. To put that in perspective, it’s more than a third of all fine particulate matter produced by mobile diesel-powered sources and about 58 percent of fine particulate matter produced by all mobile non-road diesel equipment in the county,” GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini said. “This policy will have a positive impact on our local air quality, helping to lessen the amount of toxic diesel pollution to which both communities and construction workers are subjected.”