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The Next Virtual Town Hall: Jan. 26, 2022, Noon 

U.S. Steel Defeats ACHD and Then Doubles Down in Arkansas

Rich Fitzgerald Attacks the Messenger

AHN & UPMC Fail to Respond to Requests to Discuss Air Quality

On January 7, 2022, an Allegheny County hearing officer ruled in favor of USS, limiting ACHD’s ability to strengthen rules governing coke oven emissions, which might have lessened the toxic fumes emanating from its 120-year-old Clairton Coke Works, our area's worst polluter.

Four days later, on January 11, 2022, USS's announcement of a $3 Billion investment in Arkansas will bring its recent spending in that “right-to-work” state to $4.5 Billion.  

Back in May 2019 when USS announced that it was prepared to spend $1 Billion to upgrade its Mon Valley Works (a figure that grew to $1.5 Billion), political and corporate leaders, most prominently County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, under whose political influence our county Health Department is lodged,  showed up in force to be props in a charade being planned by USS.  

That became clear in 2020 when the company canceled plans for that investment, which should have come as no surprise since USS invested $700 Million in Big River Arkansas in October 2019 for 51% of that mill, a transaction that by December 2020 led to USS spending an additional  $774 Million to complete that purchase. 

Our County Exec doesn’t play the role of the tough guy when it comes to protecting our health, but he is good at attacking those who have.  A December 20, 2022, PublicSource article featured an interview with Rachel Filippini, who after leading the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) to new heights for the last 17 years, has stepped down to spend more time with family.  The article sought a response from Fitzgerald to Filippini’s thoughtful comments; the highlighted portion below of what he said speaks volumes about the reason why we live in one of the unhealthiest places in the country for toxic air pollution.  

“...for the activists...substantial progress will never be enough. If there aren’t complaints and issues raised by those extremists, then they are less able to raise funds to continue their operations.”

Rich Fitzgerald, whose salary we pay through our taxes, would rather attack the messenger than fulfill his responsibility to the public by facing the fact that despite improvements: 

We live in one of the top 1% of regions in the country for cancers caused by air pollution. 

Our youth asthma rate is nearly triple the national average for those living near major sources of pollution.

Our elected officials need to hold USS accountable for the damage that they inflict on the health of those of us who live in the Pittsburgh area, rather than enabling a company with a proven track record of flaunting rules and regulations while harming far too many of the lives of its proud workers and the residents of this region.

Register for our 5th Virtual Resident-led Town Hall on Allegheny County Health Department’s failure to leverage community-based science to fight deadly air pollution, scheduled for Wednesday, January 26, 2022, noon via Zoom.

Watch the 3-minute trailer, "The Unfinished Business of Pittsburgh's Air Quality," a documentary being produced by Mark Dixon.  It will motivate you to do something.

Share this communication with your contacts, in order to leverage our impact.

Thank you,
Howard Rieger, Ph.D
On behalf of the Resident-led Grassroots Steering Committee
SWPA Grassroots Town Halls - Our Right to Clean Air
"Communities on Fire" by Mark Dixon/ Inversion Documentary
Rail Pollution Protection Pittsburgh
Copyright © 2022 Rail Pollution Protection Pittsburgh (RP3), All rights reserved.

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