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PRESS RELEASE -- Green Party of Allegheny County joins push for Clean Air at Courthouse rally

posted Jul 13, 2018, 10:50 AM by Garret Wassermann   [ updated Jul 13, 2018, 11:48 AM ]

July 13, 2018
Pittsburgh, PA
Contact: Tim Jones,

Today, members of the Green Party of Allegheny County (GPOAC) joined PennEnvironment, GASP, the Breathe Project, and other members of the Breathe Collaborative at a downtown Pittsburgh rally called Fridays with Fitzgerald. The intent of these gatherings in the courtyard of Allegheny County Courthouse is to gain the attention of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald about the very poor quality of our air and its detrimental impact on the health of our residents and our region.

With the recent statistics that Allegheny County now ranks in the top 2 per cent of counties in the U.S. for cancer risk from air pollution, GPOAC wants to encourage leaders such as Mr. Fitzgerald, who supports the air and water polluting industry of fracking, to reverse course and act now to protect our rights to clean air and pure water guaranteed under PA Constitution Article 1 Section 27.

GPOAC calls for the County Executive to crack down on local polluters and end his support for the cracker plant in nearby Beaver County and the Falcon pipeline that will feed it. The Green Party emphasis will be to present facts on how local government decisions directly contribute to either improving or detracting from the health of our region.

Jay Walker, a Green County candidate for District 23 for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, explains his sense of urgency, “Climate change is real and anything short of confronting it directly is foolish. We need to rapidly shift our economy from being powered by fossil fuels to alternative energy while also massively reducing our energy use.”

Garret Wassermann, Green Party Candidate for District 45 and vice-chair of GPOAC, expressed support for a recent Clean Air Council and Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) lawsuit against the Allegheny County Health Department for diverting Clean Air Funds meant for enforcement into building renovation projects. “Our real need is to crack down on fossil fuel polluters such as the Clairton Coke works who repeatedly get cited by the Allegheny Health Department for their infractions, yet fail to remedy their polluting business practices.” he said. “The Allegheny County Board of Health is appointed by the County Executive, so I expect Mr. Fitzgerald to speak out against this misuse of funds and call for greater clean air enforcement from the board he has appointed.”

Candidates Wassermann and Walker hope that the Fridays with Fitzgerald rallies will impress upon our government officials how unacceptable the decline in air quality and the alarming increase of pollution generated illnesses is for our city life. As representative of the GPOAC at the rallies, Wassermann and Walker both hope to make clear that Allegheny County’s successful future - that government officials profess to aspire to - will be undermined by these growing concerns if not addressed.

Unwrapping 11,000 complaints about air pollution in Allegheny County
Above: Petitioners unwrap a printed list of over 11,000 complaints about air pollution to the Allegheny County Health Department as they demand County Executive Fitzgerald to take action to protect our air. The petition was long enough to encircle the courtyard twice.