Environment

The Importance of Water

by Rebecca Lessner
Watershed expert April Claus called to the 20 Quaker Valley High students splashing through a creek bed in their muck boots: “Who wants to release the brown trout?” They were part of Claus’s environmental science internship — the Quaker Valley Creekers. And on that autumn day they waded into Little Sewickley Creek,…

What are “Waters of the United States”?

by Ashley Murray
What are the so-​called “waters of the United States” and why did the Obama administration expand the definition? To understand that is to understand the evolution of environmental regulation in the United States and how the nation’s courts have interpreted what’s protected.

Protecting Our Streams

by Ashley Murray
Determining where water begins and ends seems a matter of physical properties, of whether two hydrogen molecules are bonded to oxygen, and how much of it exists. Where is it located, and will people eventually drink it? Swim in it? Fish in it? This molecule, essential to life, has become…

Air Quality Regulation: A Primer

by PQ Staff
Air quality in the United States is governed by a complex regulatory structure that sets pollution limits and authorizes federal, state and local agencies to enforce them. The regulations which agencies enforce vary with the source of pollution, what they emit and the air quality in the region where they…

Mobile Source Pollution

by Mike Wereschagin
Creeping into the Fort Pitt Tunnel, angling for space at the Parkway East’s Grant Street exit, or elbowing into a gap in traffic on the Veterans Bridge, tens of thousands of people drive or ride into and out of Downtown nearly every day.

Air Rules

by Jeffery Fraser
Bluer skies over southwestern Pennsylvania owe a debt to local, state and federal regulations that have evolved over decades to spur technological advancements and investment in controlling air pollutants from industrial plants to the cars we drive.

Up in the Air: The Final Chapter

by Jeffery Fraser
Air polllution’s place in the history of southwestern Pennsylvania is as prominent as the region’s mighty rivers and the steel industry that once crowded their banks. For nearly a century, it was a defining characteristic in the eyes of visitors, who pulled no punches when describing the grim conditions they…

Cokeless Steel?

by Mike Wereschagin
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

by Jeffery Fraser
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…

Drilling for Answers

by Julia Fraser
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

by Julia Fraser
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?

by Mike Wereschagin
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

by PQ Staff
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
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