PennFuture and Stay Positive Clairton are hosting an Air Quality Expo May 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Community Economic Development Corporation Center located at 282 St. Clair Avenue in Clairton, Allegheny County.
“The issue of air quality is important to me because people in Clairton have a greater chance of getting cancer and asthma rates are a lot higher. So, basically, everyone here is just getting poisoned slowly,” said Stay Positive Clairton student leader, Jaden McDougald, age 16.
“This event puts a face to the science of air quality,” said Annie Regan, western Pennsylvania outreach coordinator for PennFuture. “Interactive activities, on-site experts, advocacy organizations, community members, and the student group, Stay Positive Clairton, are helping to show that residents of the region can take air quality into their own hands – improving their health and community.”
The event features information, resources, refreshments, and will premiere PennFuture’s documentary, “Clairton Coke Works, Clean Up Our Air,” PennFuture produced the short film that features Mon Valley residents affected by air pollution. Matt Brosey directed and edited the film.
“Air pollution is much more than statistics,” said Regan. “These personal stories provide a critical perspective on the impacts of air pollution.”
PennFuture began working with residents while it investigated violations of air emissions standards at U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works.
PennFuture uncovered approximately 6,700 air pollution limit violations between January 1, 2012 and May 31, 2015, which is akin to over five violations a day, every day, for nearly three and a half years.
“U.S. Steel and the regulators charged with protecting public health repeatedly failed to uphold their duty,” added Regan. “We know that bad air travels to affect the entire region and all county residents should see what’s really going on.”
PennFuture issued legal notice to U.S. Steel and the Allegheny County Health Department in late January.Just days before the deadline by which it could initiate legal action to hold US Steel accountable for the violations, US Steel and ACHD agreed to settle the violations in county court without involving PennFuture or notifying the public in advance.