Environmental Protection Agency

Can We Talk About Climate Change Now?

Sep 21, 2017
Gerald Herbert / AP

First Hurricane Harvey inundated Houston, then Irma unleashed savage winds on the Caribbean and parts of Florida. And then the fires – exacerbated by a severe drought – raging in the Pacific Northwest, choking the skies of Big Sky country. All of these events have links to climate change, scientists say.

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

Officials from state and federal regulatory agencies are in town this week touring the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s water treatment plant in Aspinwall.

Kathleen J. Davis

A $600,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency will be used to help clean up some of Pittsburgh’s forgotten former industrial sites.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle accepted the grant Friday the Foundry in Lawrenceville, a luxury apartment complex built on the site of a former brownfield site.

The money will help officials clean up the old sites, which can sometimes contain hazardous material and prevent future development. The Foundry’s site was cleaned up with the help of a previous EPA grant.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The day after Pennsylvania, 14 other states and the District of Columbia sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its plan to delay implementation of new clean air standards, the EPA reversed course and says it will implement it on time.

Pennsylvania Among States Suing EPA

Aug 2, 2017
Emma Lee / WHYY

At a news conference on the banks of the Schuylkill River, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Tuesday they're joining 14 other states — including Delaware — in suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to delay the implementation of new, tougher standards for ozone in the air.

Occurence of Trihalomethanes in the Nation's Ground Water and Drinking Water Supply Wells, 1985-2002 / United States Geological Survey

Lead isn't the only potential water contaminant Pittsburgh residents should worry about, according to researchers at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.

The Washington, D.C.-based research and lobbying group this week launched a website that allows residents to look up which contaminants are present in the local drinking water supply, at what levels they exist and how those levels compare with state and national averages.

Kamil Kaczor / Flickr

Officials announced Tuesday that PWSA is back in compliance with federal standards for lead levels in drinking water. The next day, City Council gave preliminary approval to a bill that would allow the authority to replace the private side of residential lead service lines when it replaces the public side.

EarthJustice

When  President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cut funding for environmental justice work at the EPA, Mustafa Ali took a stand. 

Irina Zhorov / Keystone Crossroads

The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously agreed Tuesday to create a bipartisan group tasked with investigating lead exposure in the state.

Seth Perlman / AP

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he's pursuing a new consent decree that would allow the state to take control over the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, including all pending lead line replacements. 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is temporarily suspending its program to partially replace lead water service lines less than a month after it officially began.

Deciphering 'Lead Free' Labels At The Store Isn't Always Easy

May 25, 2017
Dennis Amith / Flickr

We’ve heard a lot about lead service lines after the Flint water crisis and Pittsburgh’s efforts to replace its old pipes. But that’s not the only way lead can get into your drinking water.

EPA Won't Declare Lake Erie's Waters In Ohio Impaired

May 25, 2017
Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency won't declare Ohio's western end of Lake Erie impaired by toxic algae, siding with state regulators who say they are making progress in tackling the problem.

Federal Cuts At EPA Will Trickle Down To Pennsylvania

Mar 9, 2017
Tom Whitten / Flickr

As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to drastically reduce the size and scope of the Environmental Protection Agency. A memo by the White House Office of Management and Budget indicates that’s still the plan. The memo outlines a proposed 25 percent cut to EPA’s $8-billion budget, including reductions in state grants for clean air and water programs.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Scientists from Carnegie Mellon University have been climbing onto local rooftops and installing air quality monitors. It’s a project of CMU’s Center for Air, Climate and Energy Solutions, funded in part by the Environmental Protection Agency. Similar centers were also set up at Harvard and Yale.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / NCTC Archives Museum

Rachel Carson would recognize the conflict between environmental regulation and corporate interests as it is manifesting in President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority proposed mixing green and gray infrastructure to reduce the amount of raw sewage flowing into the Ohio River. 

The draft “Green First Plan” calls for millions of dollars in water retention systems that are both above and below ground. The systems would range from cement cisterns that hold water during rainy days to be processed later, to green spaces that can absorb storm water runoff into the ground.  

States Suing Over Climate Change Plan Get Their Day In Court

Sep 29, 2016
Dennis Hendricks / Flickr

  

Climate change barely got a mention in Monday’s presidential debate, but it was a big week in the history of the nation’s climate policy.

On Tuesday, a panel of ten judges on a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. heard arguments on the Clean Power Plan — the cornerstone of President Obama’s effort to curb climate change.

The residents of Flint, Mich., received some welcome news this week: Researchers released the results of a new round of water tests, showing lead levels in that city's water system falling just below the Environmental Protection Agency action level.

Too many water samples above that level is a red flag for utilities, a sign that they may have a broader lead problem.

Virginia Tech researcher Marc Edwards, who leads the team documenting Flint's water problems, called the new results the "beginning of the end," a turning point in the city's saga with corrosive water.

Jessica Kourkounis / Keystone Crossroads

 

Pennsylvania has more trash in its landfills, per person, than every other state, except Nevada. There are 35.4 tons of trash for each person in the state, according to ananalysis of data from the Environmental Protection Agency's Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, conducted by the energy company SaveOnEnergy.com.

A federal judge in Wyoming has struck down the Obama administration's regulations on hydraulic fracturing, ruling that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management doesn't have the authority to establish rules over fracking on federal and Indian lands.

In the ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl said Congress had not granted the BLM that power, and had instead chosen to specifically exclude fracking from federal oversight.

Flickr user joseph a

It’s no secret that the air quality in Pittsburgh isn’t great. Last month, the American Lung Association ranked southwestern Pennsylvania as having the eighth highest level of year-round pollutants and the fourteenth highest level of short-term particle pollution in the nation.

Dan McKay / Flickr

 

Among those New Year’s goals of eating healthier, volunteering more or sticking to a new hobby, the Pennsylvania Resources Council also wants resolution makers to add one more thing: recycling.

Composting and recycling bottles, cans, paper and any potentially hazardous material are easy ways to get involved, said Justin Stockdale, the council's regional director.

A Coal Plant Cleans Up In Indiana County

Dec 17, 2015
Keith Srakocic / AP

  Around the country, dozens of coal-fired power plants are racing to install pollution controls to comply with new mercury rules from the Environmental Protection Agency. But how do they keep 100,000 tons of coal-fired pollution out of the air? Install thousands of air filters.

Todd Kollross is managing the $750-million project at the Homer City Generating Station in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. Inside the new unit, he shows off what look like hundreds of holes in the floor. Each is lined with a filter bag. They’re basically super-sized Shop Vac filters.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

Environmentalist groups are protesting provisions advancing through the Pennsylvania Legislature as part of budget-related bill.

More than a half-dozen organizations signed a  statement on Thursday as senators overwhelmingly approved the 76-page bill Thursday, barely 24 hours after it became public.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

If you want an update on air quality, look no further than your smartphone.

CREATE Lab, a program of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, and Airviz, a CMU lab spinoff, have developed a smartphone app called SpeckSensor that gives users real-time access to Air Quality Index (AQI) numbers based on their location.

Environmental Protection Agency

  Residents driving past the Clack Health Complex in Lawrenceville might notice green, orange and red flags flying over the building -- a visual guide for those concerned about local air quality.  

The Allegheny County Health Department has adopted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s program of flying pennants to signify air quality levels. The color-coded banners went up last week.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

It’s no secret that Pittsburgh’s industrial past has resulted in environmental contamination along its waterfronts, in areas which have been dubbed “brownfield” sites.

But Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said there are brownfields embedded in neighborhoods too.

Brian Donovan / Flickr

Pittsburgh has been selected as one of 10 cities to pilot the country’s first Resilience AmeriCorps initiative.

The Obama administration announced the action on July 9. Each Resilience AmeriCorps city will receive $25,000 to help build neighborhood resilience plans and initiatives at the community level in the form of a micro grant program. Each city will also receive dedicated AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America members.

Now that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled its plan to set limits on carbon emissions, Pennsylvania will have until 2018 to determine how to comply.

The plan is anticipated to reduce emissions from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels, up from a 30 percent reduction in the original 2014 draft.

Under the EPA mandate, Pennsylvania and other states have until September of 2018 to submit their final emission reduction plans. If a state doesn’t turn in a plan, they must comply with the federal model which will be finalized by summer 2016.

Pages