Updated: Sep 9
Steelers football fans know that Pittsburgh’s own Heinz Field is considered one of the toughest places to play an away game in the entire AFC. The stands are packed with rabid, rowdy fans and the outdoor venue offers precious little protection from the elements.
When you walk into the stadium, you immediately know whose “house” it is, and whose territory you’ve just stepped into. There’s a sea of back and gold as far as the eye can see, a contingent of vocal fans there to loudly support their home team.
Their role is to be the so-called “12th Man on the Field” and part of that job is to drown out the other team.
While the regulation of air quality is certainly no game, there have been compelling parallels over the past few months. Recent hearings and committee meetings have shown us here at GASP that when it comes to standing up for your right to clean air, Clairton and Braddock can be tough places to play.
Take, for example, the recent hearing in Clairton regarding the Title V operating permit for U.S. Steel’s Coke Works facility there. It WAS PACKED with U.S. Steel management, union members, contractors, political cheerleaders, and others with close industry ties – speakers who shared seemingly coordinated talking points.
Those of us who attended the hearing in person remarked how crass it was to have industry supporters jeering residents – in some cases their neighbors – who were there to demand stronger regulations and speak out in favor of robust enforcement of air quality rules.
At this and other similar hearings, our fellow Allegheny County residents provided extremely personal stories about their struggles to breathe during bad air quality days, about family members who have died from cancers they believe were caused in part by sustained exposure to air pollution, and about considering relocating to an area where the skies aren’t so regularly fouled by industry emissions.
We have every reason to believe that a hearing slated for 6 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, June 29 in Braddock regarding the Title V operating permit for U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson Works will be made to be a tough place for residents to speak out.
And we need your help to make sure those crucial residential voices aren’t drowned out by industry interests. So here’s our ask: Can you be there?
Even if you can’t or don’t wish to share your personal experiences with air pollution from the plant, we hope GASP members will consider attending the hearing tomorrow in a show of solidarity, so residents know there are people there who have their backs.
But if you DO want to testify at the hearing, please know that you must sign up to do so by 6 p.m. TODAY, Tuesday June 28 by filling out ACHD’s Public Hearing Participation Form or by calling 412-578-8103.
Here’s info on the hearing:
WHO: The hearing is open to ALL MEMBERS of the public.
WHEN: 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 29
WHERE: The Rivers Edge Volunteer Fire Department Social Hall, 845 Talbot Ave., Braddock, PA 15104 (click here for directions). Off-street parking is available.
Last-minute questions? We’re here for you: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.