Environment
11:26 am
Fri September 2, 2011

PennFuture Goes After Pitt on Pollution Law

The environmental watchdog group PennFuture is turning its attention to the University of Pittsburgh in its campaign to get building owners in the region to obey the state's diesel idling laws. The law limits the amount of time a diesel-powered vehicle can idle and it forces building owners to post warnings on loading docks.

The University of Pittsburgh has not posted the needed signs on its Oakland campus according to PennFuture Vice President Heather Sage. The group launched its campaign last month by pointing out the lack of signage on the loading dock of the Allegheny County Health Departments building on Forbes Ave. The group hopes that by going after a few high profile building owners they will be able to draw attention to the problem.

Sage said she understands why there might be some confusion surrounding the state law in Allegheny County. "The county had an idling law that predated the state law, but it does not have a signage component and the County Health Department, which normally handles enforcement issues for air quality, doesn't have the enforcement capability under the state law," said Sage.

Emissions from diesel engines has been linked to a long list of health problems including asthma and stroke.

Sage said her group cannot find all of the scofflaws in the region so they are looking for help from those who live in Southwestern Pennsylvania, "We are encouraging citizens to keep there own eyes open… look around, it's just about everywhere and it's clearly the building owner's responsibility to have the signage."

A form to report violations can be found on PennFuture's web page.