Environment

Cokeless Steel?

Power companies aren’t alone in their shift away from coal. Steelmakers, industry groups and the federal government are spending millions looking for a way to make steel without coke, the carbon-​rich form of coal used to fuel blast furnaces. Like coal-​fired power generation, coke production is a major source of…

Petrochemical Alley

Shell Chemical Appalachia’s petrochemical complex has begun to rise from a dusty Beaver County brownfield that follows a slow bend in the Ohio River near Monaca. It took hefty tax incentives to secure it. The nation’s largest zinc smelter was razed to make room for it. More than 7 million…

Up in the Air, Part III

A decade ago, as Consol Energy’s 150th anniversary drew near, top executives began to take stock in where the company stood as a leading producer of coal and where that path would take it. Coal was in what CEO Nicholas DeIuliis called a “supercycle.” It was the workhorse of the…

Drilling for Answers

Well pads, compressor stations, diesel truck traffic. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves many moving parts, some of which have the potential to vent pollutants into the air southwestern Pennsylvanians breathe.

Up in the Air, Part II

At the Clairton Public Library in the industrial Monongahela River valley, patrons can check out “Moby Dick,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the adventures of Curious George and any number of Nancy Drew mysteries. They can read issues of Vogue and Popular Science. They can take home the music of Elton…

Living Dangerously

Despite the improvement in the region’s air quality in recent years, southwestern Pennsylvania still fails to meet federal health-​based standards for various major air pollutants, such as ground-​level ozone, sulfur dioxide and fine particulates, known as PM2.5. And that regional pollution elevates risks of cancer, respiratory ailments and other serious…

Does Air Quality Matter to Young Workers?

As their due date neared last fall, Ryan Poling and his wife faced a difficult decision. Did they want to raise their daughter in Pittsburgh, the city in which they’ve built a life during the last nine years, or pick up and move across the country, near Poling’s family in…

Spring Hat Luncheon Welcomes 600 to Schenley Park

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy raised $530,000 during its annual Spring Hat Luncheon on May 6, welcoming more than 600 guests to Schenley Park.

Ode to an Ash

by Daryln Brewer Hoffstot
“When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder lions hunker down in tall grasses and even elephants lumber after safety…” —Maya Angelou

The Region’s Top 10 Air Polluters

by Mike Wereschagin
Although the region’s air has improved dramatically from the height of Pittsburgh’s industrial past, southwestern Pennsylvania remains home to factories and power plants that release millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into the air. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data to track toxic chemicals released…

Inconspicuous and Dangerous

by Jeffery Fraser
The heavy smoke is gone. But particulates 30 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair and gases formed by the reaction of sunlight and fossil fuels exhaust remain as the region’s most widespread, stubborn and dangerous air quality problems.

Up in the Air

by Jeffery Fraser
Southwestern Pennsylvania and air qulity have long had a complicated relationship. For the better part of a century, the region had been a place so polluted from the soot of industry and homes heated by coal that street lamps were lit in the afternoon and walking a single block could…

Neither, Either, Or

by John Allison
If you want to explore the vexing subject of global climate change, Seamus McGraw is the guy to have as a tour guide. He will not torture your brain with elaborate science, tax your patience with lectures about evil consumer habits, or bash you over the head with partisan arguments.…

Clouds gathering over Pittsburgh

As his rowboat swept over Penn Avenue, Charles H. Allard looked for the bronze tablet on the Horne’s building. The object commemorated the high water mark of the Flood of 1907, previously the most severe flood to ravage Pittsburgh. Allard, reporting for the Pittsburgh Post-​Gazette on March 18, 1936, couldn’t…

Nature’s Comeback

Every year, while spring was busy prying away the season from winter’s grasp, my family would make the trek down to Deep Creek, Maryland, to visit my grandparents’ cottage. The drive from our Long Island home was just over seven hours, which, to a kid with very little concept of…
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