EPA Grant to Help Green the Port of Pittsburgh Diesel emissions will be significantly reduced

July 30, 2010

Release date: 07/28/2010

Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.gov & Mary Anne Bucci, 412-201-7331, mary_ann@port.pittsburgh.pa.us

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (July 28, 2010) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today awarded a $1,156,838 grant to the Port of Pittsburgh Commission to oversee extensive repowering of four marine towing vessels with new, more efficient diesel engines and generators that will reduce air pollution, improve air quality and lessen overall environmental impacts. The grant was awarded under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act.

“Putting clean diesel engines in these hard-working marine vessels will bring cleaner, healthier air for communities along the Port’s 200-miles of navigable waterways,” said EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “EPA is pleased to support the Port of Pittsburgh in sustaining its operations while doing what’s necessary to protect people’s health and the environment.

EPA and the Port were joined by the Allegheny County Health Department, the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), Clean Water Action Network, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and representatives from the three cooperating companies – – Campbell Transportation Company, Consol Energy and River Salvage, Inc.

“This grant, and the actions of these companies, will take the greenest, least polluting mode of surface transportation, and make it even greener. Each tow of 15 barges moves the equivalent of over 1,000 trucks. This industry is very proud of the contribution we make to reducing congestion and air pollution. Just by taking trucks off of the roads, we serve industries that could not be located here without the waterways. Today we can be even prouder,” said James McCarville, Executive Director of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission.

In addition to EPA’s grant, the Pittsburgh Port Commission and three participating private companies will spend $1.97 million for a total of more than $3 million to repower the four vessels with cleaner burning engines. Each year, the engines will eliminate over 112 tons of nitrous oxide, 15 tons of carbon monoxide, five tons of particulate matter and two tons of hydrocarbons from the local air.

Clean diesel projects help address health issues including asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments.

The Port of Pittsburgh is the second busiest inland port in the U.S., moving 30 to 40 million tons of cargo a year worth $6.6 billion. The Port provides an annual benefit to the region of $873 million and provides 45,000 jobs. For more information on the Port see: http://www.port.pittsburgh.pa.us.

Following this morning’s media event at the Port, a workshop will be held at Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection’s Southwest Regional office to encourage additional diesel emission reduction projects throughout the region.

Visit EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign at http://www.epa.gov/diesel/.
EPA’s website at Clean Ports USA at http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/ports/index.htm.
EPA’s regional diesel website at http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/diesel/index.htm.

For additional local information visit: the Allegheny County Partnership to Reduce Diesel Pollution at https://pghdieselcleanup.wordpress.com/diesel-facts/.


Air kisses: Middle schoolers rally for the environment

July 20, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Out of the mouths of babes. Well, in this case, tweens. Young participants in an environmental summer camp took their quest for clean air to the West End Overlook on Thursday, hoping to persuade City Council to enact tougher measures.

Seventy-eight middle-school students are taking part in the nine-week Pittsburgh Cares E-Serve camp, which is designed to teach them about the environment and what individuals can do to help make the world cleaner, greener and healthier.

They did plenty of homework before holding their press conference and rally, complete with colorful signs and careful speeches. The Group Against Smog and Pollution conducted a workshop for them, teaching them several weeks ago about health hazards associated with diesel particulate emissions. The campers were told about a bill, already supported by four members of City Council, which would require contractors to use low-sulfur diesel fuel in vehicles operated at city-subsidized projects and tighten up their practices on stormwater management. That bill was the focus of the students’ demonstration.

It was a breath of fresh air to hear the young people speaking for themselves on an important public policy. We hope all nine City Council members were listening.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10199/1073307-192.stm#ixzz0uEq62ivT

Campers call attention to environmental legislation before City Council

July 16, 2010


Campers call attention to environmental legislation before City Council
Youth raise a chant for clean air
Friday, July 16, 2010
By Katie Falloon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette
Paw Parheat, left, 13, and Chris Thorpe, 11, shout “Clean air now!” at a press conference demanding clean air for Pittsburgh at the West End Overlook. Kids from the Pittsburgh Cares E-Serve summer camp are supporting the Clean Air Bill introduced in city council.

On a warm and sunny Thursday afternoon, 50 middle school students from across the Pittsburgh area — dressed in matching lime green T-shirts — marched up to the West End Overlook, intermittently shouting “Clean air now!”

The students, part of the Pittsburgh Cares E-Serve camp, were participating in a 1 p.m. news conference intended to encourage Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith to support the clean air bill currently before City Council. Ms. Kail-Smith represents District 2, which includes the West End where the camp is located.

A news conference seemed like a great method of civic advocacy, said Meg Schrek, E-Serve program manager and program assistant with Pittsburgh Cares.

And so students in the free nine-week environmental service camp gathered before a sweeping view of the Pittsburgh skyline, holding up colorful signs with a variety of messages such as “Air pollution is no solution.”

Three girls delivered short speeches about the potential dangers of diesel in the air and the importance of the clean air bill, which would require contractors to use low-sulfur diesel fuel in vehicles operated at city-subsidized project sites. Contractors would also have to install diesel particulate filters on those vehicles.

After a “Clean air now!” chant, students milled about, waiting for an assistant to Ms. Kail-Smith to arrive.

Ms. Kail-Smith said Thursday that previously scheduled meetings prevented her from attending.

Lori Marabello attended in Ms. Kail-Smith’s stead, praising the students for learning about the environment and listening as they re-read their speeches to her.

Ms. Kail-Smith said that while the bill is one she will definitely consider supporting, there are concerns that need to be worked out, including the impact on development in Pittsburgh and how businesses, especially small ones, will cope with the changes the bill demands.

The bill, which currently has four co-sponsors, needs to be approved by five council members to pass and six to be veto-proof, said Jamin Bogi, education and outreach coordinator at the nonprofit Group Against Smog and Pollution.

The group helped prepare campers for the news conference by hosting a workshop a few weeks ago, Mr. Bogi said. During the workshop, students learned about diesel particulates, which can aggravate asthma and even cause premature death, he said.

Rachel Filippini, GASP’s executive director, added that while part of the group’s goal is to benefit future generations, “it’s also about instilling in these kids some stewardship for their natural resources.”

One camper seems to already have that sense of stewardship firmly in place. Shishir Timsina, 10, of Prospect wants to be an “animal rescuer” when he grows up.

When asked what he learned at camp, Shishir replied, “I learned about smog, how to help people, and how to make friends.”

The camp, which has 78 participants, is currently in its fourth week. Students who complete all 100 hours of the camp receive a $500 education bond.

Katie Falloon: kfalloon@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1723.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10197/1073043-53.stm#ixzz0tsSZXQuu

Council pushes for clean development

July 12, 2010
Legislation calls for contractors in city-subsidized projects to be air-friendly and ‘green’
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
By Joe Smydo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh City Councilman William Peduto, center, listens to one of the speakers at news conference Tuesday outside City Council Chambers about the Clean Air and Clean Water bills.


Legislation sponsored by four Pittsburgh City Council members would require contractors involved in city-subsidized developments to operate air-friendly vehicles and reduce water runoff through the use of green roofs, man-made wetlands and rain gardens.

Council members Bruce Kraus, Bill Peduto, Natalia Rudiak and Doug Shields announced the legislation Tuesday outside the council chamber, with about four dozen environmental, civic and union officials applauding the proposals.

“We shouldn’t be using public dollars to pollute our air and pollute our water,” Mr. Peduto said.

Tony Helfer, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23, said the proposed Clear Air and Clean Water bills would set “common-sense, responsible” guidelines for spending taxpayer dollars on public projects.

Mr. Peduto said support of at least two other members is needed to push the proposals through council. Mr. Helfer said his union would help him recruit the votes.

Council will hold a public hearing and a post-agenda meeting on the bills, which Mr. Peduto called critical to moving Pittsburgh’s economy forward. He said companies balk at moving to a region with the pervasive air and water pollution that plague Pittsburgh.

“That’s not a strong selling point,” Mr. Peduto said.

The clear air bill would require contractors to use low-sulfur diesel fuel in vehicles operated at city-subsidized project sites. Contractors also would have to install diesel particulate filters on those vehicles.

Mr. Peduto said contractors would end up using the cleaner-running vehicles at privately subsidized project sites, too, giving the bill a wider reach.

Tom Hoffman, Western Pennsylvania director of Clean Water Action, said the legislation is a way for Pittsburgh to counter periodic national reports about poor air quality.

Rather than grumble about the reports, taking a stand is “just … a better way to go,” he said,

The clean water bill would impose tougher guidelines on stormwater runoff at developments built with city money. It would encourage developers to go beyond conventional stormwater management practices and control runoff with green building practices such as green roofs, man-made wetlands, rain gardens and rain harvesting.

Rain gardens are plant-covered depressions that catch water from parking lots and other hard surfaces. Rain harvesting refers to the collection and recycling of rain water.

Though new to Pittsburgh, the legislation isn’t ground-breaking. “It is exactly the same standard that the federal government already mandates for all of its own properties,” Mr. Peduto said.

Mr. Peduto and the other sponsors cast the bills as a way to tackle a variety of environmental-related problems, from river pollution to rising health-care costs.

The city Urban Redevelopment Authority, which oversees city-backed developments, couldn’t be reached for comment on the legislation. Mr. Peduto said he doubted the URA would embrace new conditions for developers.

At 9:30 a.m. today, Mr. Peduto will help launch another environmental initiative, Greener Pittsburgh, which will include an online directory of resources to help residents, organizations and businesses become more environmentally sensitive. The initiative, developed by Greener Expressions, a Lawrenceville company, also will help consumers identify green-friendly companies.

Mr. Peduto and Greener Expressions will kick off the initiative in council’s conference room in the City-County Building.

Joe Smydo: jsmydo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1548.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10153/1062352-113.stm#ixzz0tTwKBsn8

Pittsburgh may require new job site rules

July 12, 2010


More than 200 union members and environmental activists turned out Thursday in support of two City Council bills that would restrict diesel emissions and storm water runoff on city-subsidized development projects.

“When we put our tax dollars into something, the diesel equipment should be cleaner. … And developers should be part of the solution in trying to capture as much water as they can,” said Tom Hoffman, Western Pennsylvania’s director for Clean Water Action.

The legislation would require contractors working on city-subsidized projects to use new or retrofitted equipment to reduce diesel emissions and force developers to incorporate ways to limit the amount of water that runs off the property and into rivers and streams.

Councilman Doug Shields said the “free lunch is over” for developers who take public subsidies.

“If you want a handout, then this is what we require,” Shields said. “I think it’s fair. I think it’s honest.”

Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle said he supports “the intent” of the legislation, but would prefer it apply to all construction within the city, not just projects that receive public funding.

Construction groups say the higher environmental standards could stymie development and put small companies out of business, but they aren’t necessarily opposed to the bills as long as the costs to pay for the retrofitting are taken care of via state and federal grants or tax incentives.

“While the idea of mandating diesel retrofits for construction equipment can help Pittsburgh achieve air quality goals, the truth is that the cost can be prohibitive to contractors without financial or technical assistance,” said Jon O’Brien, a spokesman for the Master Builder’s Association of Western Pennsylvania.

Joanna Doven, a spokeswoman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, said the administration’s concern is “balancing the environmental integrity of our city and economic development.”

“We’ll be open to the legislation, but we also need to learn about how it will affect that development,” Doven said. “We want to know whether the bill will force future projects out of the city.”

Council has scheduled a second public meeting at 1:30 p.m. July 13 in Council Chambers at the City-County Building on Grant Street, Downtown