Pittsburgh Vs. Pollution: How The City Tackles Climate Change, Chemicals & Catfish

Jun 2, 2017

An ice worker removes a fish during the second period of Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators on Monday, May 29, 2017, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
Credit Gene J. Puskar / AP

Over the years, Pittsburgh's City Council has tried to encourage social change through legislation. That includes the executive order signed Friday by Mayor Bill Peduto committing the city to ideals set forth in the 195-nation Paris climate agreement, which President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from on Thursday

But often those laws -- paid sick time, residency requirements for police officers, a conversion therapy ban for minors, building security guard training and more -- have been struck down by the courts or negated by the state legislature, sometimes because Pittsburgh is a "city of the second class." That's not just a pejorative term; it's a legal term. Joining us to talk about the city's battles with the courts is the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Bob Bauder and Pittsburgh City Paper's Rebecca Addison.

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Pittsburgh has done a lot to clean up its water and air, but problems remain in some communities. In a collaborative series between WESA and the Allegheny Front, "Hazards To Your Health," reporters explore the communities most affected by lingering pollution. Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier and Julie Grant discuss the stories you'll hear through July.

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As the Greater Johnstown Water Authority decides whether to continue treating city water with fluoride, many Johnstown residents have voiced their opinions both in favor and opposition of the chemical. Tribune-Democrat reporter Dave Sutor explains more.

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The Penguins head to Nashville to face the Predators in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday. We're joined by Upgruv's Rob Rossi in Nashville to talk about the upcoming game, the economic impact of having two championship series in a row... and that pesky catfish. 

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The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region. This week, WESA reporter Mark Nootbaar takes the mic in Gavin's stead.

Find more episodes of The Confluence here.