HARRISBURG, Pa., April 29, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 12-county area surrounding Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has once again landed on all three "Worst 25" lists in the American Lung Association's (ALA) 2015 State of the Air Report. The region ranked tenth most polluted in the U.S. for short-term (daily) fine particle pollution, ninth worst for year-round measurement of the pollutant, and 21st smoggiest in the country for ground level ozone pollution.
"Ozone and particle pollution exacerbated by warming temperatures lead to the formation of ground-level smog and its myriad negative health impacts," said John Norbeck, acting president and CEO of PennFuture. "Citizens across Pennsylvania and especially in the Pittsburgh region are bearing the brunt of this public health nightmare and are choking on air fouled by harmful emissions. Federal, state and local agencies must step up to the plate with strong rules to protect the people of the Commonwealth."
Carbon pollution and toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants in the tri-state area comprised of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia have long contributed to the region's poor air quality. Similarly, escalating methane emissions from natural gas drilling operations are leading to warmer temperatures as the potent greenhouse gas is the main component of natural gas.
"The EPA's Clean Power Plan will go a long way toward cleaning up carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants," said Matt Stepp, policy director for PennFuture. "However, it will be Pennsylvania's responsibility to enact strong rules to curb methane emissions from natural gas drilling activity. Strong rules, and strict enforcement of those standards, are a solid start in protecting our children, seniors and many more citizens from asthma attacks, lung and heart disease that can be traced directly to the pollution identified in the ALA report today."
PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization founded in 1998 with offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre. The organization's activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local, state, and federal courts; advocating and advancing legislative action on a state and federal level; public education; and assisting citizens in public advocacy.