Pennsylvania and surrounding areas · Pittsburgh, the Ohio Valley, and surrounding areas · Pollution

Pennsylvania and surrounding areas

Pittsburgh, the Ohio Valley, and surrounding areas


Fig. 1. Photographer unknown, circa 1940-1950, from Smoke Control Lantern Slide Collection, ca. 1940-1950, AIS.1978.22, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh, via Bloomberg,[1] fair use.

Fig. 2. Soot still stains some buildings in Pittsburgh. Saint Paul Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh, photograph by author, March 14, 2023.

Mark Byrnes, “What Pittsburgh Looked Like When It Decided It Had a Pollution Problem,” Bloomberg, June 5, 2012,

Donna Carole Roberts, “Pittsburgh has glaring environmental problems. So why the greenwashing?” Pittsburgh Public Source, December 26, 2017,

Kristina Marusic, “Pittsburgh’s air quality continues to decline, new report finds,” Environmental Health News, April 24, 2019,

Jessi Quinn Alperin, “Clairton, PA, wants to be clear: Residents demand accountability from U.S. Steel,” Environmental Health News, May 13, 2019,

Kris Maher, “Pittsburgh Breathes Easier After Repairs at U.S. Steel Coke Plant,” Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2019,

Kris Maher, “U.S. Steel Suffers New Fire Knocking Out Pollution Controls in Plant Near Pittsburgh,” Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2019,

KDKA, “Allegheny Co. Health Department Joins Federal Suit Against U.S. Steel,” June 18, 2019,

WTAE, “U.S. Steel, health department have deal to settle 2018 air pollution violations at Clairton Coke Works,” June 28, 2019,

Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel facing a 2nd federal lawsuit tied to December fire at Clairton Plant,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 26, 2019,

April Johnston, “‘That’s vinegar:’ The Ohio River’s history of contamination and progress made,” Environmental Health News, November 14, 2019,

Jamie Martines, “Settlement over bad air in Clairton calls for U.S. Steel to cough up $2 million,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 11, 2019,

KDKA-TV, “‘It’s Making Clairton Sick’: Poor Air Quality Impacting Clairton, Liberty Areas,” December 23, 2019,

Teghan Simonton, “Health department: Air pollution in Mon Valley exceeded federal levels over Christmas,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 27, 2019,

Ollie Gratzinger, “Allegheny County issues another fine to US Steel for air pollution violation,” Pittsburgh City Paper, January 17, 2020,

Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel to hold info sessions about Clairton, Braddock plant upgrades,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 27, 2020,

Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel, Allegheny County finalize Clairton Coke Works emissions settlement,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 10, 2020,

James Bruggers, “A Decade Into the Fracking Boom, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia Haven’t Gained Much, a Study Says,” Inside Climate News, February 11, 2021,

Andy Sheehan, “Air Quality In Mon Valley Once Again Hits Unhealthy Levels,” KDKA, February 24, 2020,

WTAE, “Allegheny Co. Health Department announces fines against U.S. Steel for violations at Clairton Coke Works,” May 28, 2020,

Michael Sainato, “The collapse of coal: pandemic accelerates Appalachia job losses,” Guardian, May 29, 2020,

Kristina Marusic, “Pittsburgh’s air was unsafe to breathe for 3 months in 2018,” Environmental Health News, January 28, 2020,

Kate Aronoff, “Fossil Fuel Companies Are Job Killers,” New Republic, April 5, 2021,

Hannah Lynn, “Report: Pittsburgh ranked 8th worst for air pollution among US cities,” Pittsburgh City Paper, April 22, 2020,

Kristina Marusic, “Environmental injustice in Pittsburgh: Poor, minority neighborhoods see higher rates of deaths from air pollution,” Environmental Health News, June 12, 2020,

James Bruggers, “A Decade Into the Fracking Boom, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia Haven’t Gained Much, a Study Says,” Inside Climate News, February 11, 2021,

Kate Aronoff, “Fossil Fuel Companies Are Job Killers,” New Republic, April 5, 2021,

Oliver Morrison, “Mon Valley air was the healthiest it’s ever been in 2020; region still receives an ‘F’ grade,” Pittsburgh Public Source, April 21, 2021,

Lee Epstein, “I grew up in Pennsylvania coal country. It wasn’t pretty and it’s time to move on,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 26, 2021,

Oliver Morrison, “‘Today is a difficult day.’ U.S. Steel announces closure of several of Clairton’s ‘dirtiest’ coke oven batteries,” Pittsburgh Public Source, April 30, 2021,

Kristina Marusic, “U.S. Steel abandons clean tech plans in Pittsburgh region following damning health study,” Environmental Health News, May 6, 2021,

Oliver Morrison and Jamie Wiggan, “A thousand little cuts: Locals say a fire on Neville Island shows the pollution didn’t stop after Shenango Coke Works closed,” Pittsburgh Public Source, June 23, 2021,

Ryan Deto, “Two large air pollution sources will soon be offline. Will Allegheny County’s air quality future be as clean as it can be?” Pittsburgh City Paper, June 23, 2021,

Geoff Dembicki, “Joe Manchin Makes $500K a Year From One of the Dirtiest Coal Plants in West Virginia,” Vice, July 28, 2021,

David Moore, “Manchin Bailed Out a Power Plant That Helps His Family Profit From Coal Waste,” Truthout, August 7, 2021,

WTAE, “Strong odor reported in Pittsburgh area reportedly coming from chemical company on Neville Island,” September 2, 2021,

Daniel Boguslaw, “Joe Manchin’s Dirty Empire,” Intercept, September 3, 2021,

Ryan Deto, “Majority of voters want fracking in Pennsylvania to end, says poll,” Pittsburgh City Paper, September 8, 2021,

Colin Jerolmack, “They Couldn’t Drink Their Water. And Still, They Stayed Quiet,” New York Times, September 17, 2021,

Ryan Deto, “U.S. Steel is challenging an Allegheny County proposed air quality regulation,” Pittsburgh City Paper, September 22, 2021,

WTAE, “Enforcement order issued after strong odor reported in some Pittsburgh communities,” October 5, 2021,

Ryan Deto, “Proposed natural-gas power plant near Pittsburgh cancels plans,” Pittsburgh City Paper, October 6, 2021,

Kristina Marusic, “Pittsburgh’s air was unhealthy to breathe for 57 days in 2020,” Daily Climate, October 6, 2021,

Kristina Marusic, “Should oil and gas companies be exempt from Pennsylvania’s hazardous waste laws?” Environmental Health News, October 7, 2021,

Joe Napsha, “Report: Drilling spills ruined wells and polluted streams in Westmoreland, across Pennsylvania,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 9, 2021,

Paul J. Gough, “Pittsburgh-based natural gas driller files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection,” WPXI, November 9, 2021,

Oliver Morrison, “U.S. Steel faces lawsuit alleging that Clairton Coke Works ‘decrepit’ condition continues to endanger Mon Valley residents,” Pittsburgh Public Source, November 19, 2021,

Michael Kranish and Anna Phillips, “Manchin cites a blind trust to justify climate votes. But much income from his family’s coal company isn’t covered,” Washington Post, December 13, 2021,

Audrey Carleton, “With billions in federal cash, will Pennsylvania finally cap its abandoned, polluting oil wells?” Pittsburgh City Paper, December 21, 2021,

Anya Litvak, “Alliance wants to make Western Pa. a hub for hydrogen production and carbon storage,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 3, 2022,

Tyler Madden, “Follansbee leaders ponder next steps after learning of coke plant closure,” WTOV, February 14, 2022,

Reid Frazier, “Drilling legacy left Pa. full of possibly harmful old oil and gas wells. There’s new hope for cleanup to get a jump-start,” National Public Radio, February 17, 2022,

Megan Guza, “U.S. Steel hit with $859K in fines by Allegheny County Health Department,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 3, 2022,

Reid Frazier, “U.S. Steel fined $1.8 million for ‘rotten egg’-gas pollution near Pittsburgh,” WESA, March 7, 2022,

Darryl Fears, “Redlining means 45 million Americans are breathing dirtier air, 50 years after it ended,” Washington Post, March 9, 2022,

Bob Mayo, “US Steel fined nearly $4.6 million for violations connected with Clairton Coke Works,” WTAE, March 25, 2022,

Tanisha Thomas, “Springdale power plant shuts down, demolition work to begin,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 1, 2022,

Emily Mullin, “Pittsburgh’s air quality is improving but still among worst in country,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 21, 2022,

Stephen Caruso, “Pennsylvania officially enacts carbon pricing for power plants,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, April 22, 2022,

Anya Litvak, “Pa. landowners have dealt with coal, oil and gas rights. Now, there are pore rights,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 25, 2022,

Joey Klender, “Sen. Joe Manchin blasts EV tax credit expansion, calls for hydrogen development,” Teslarati, April 29, 2022,

Ryan Deto, “What the Supreme Court’s EPA ruling means for carbon emissions in Pittsburgh and the state,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 30, 2022,

Laura Legere, “Judge halts Pa. power plant carbon dioxide rule,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 8, 2022,

Ryan Deto, “Allegheny County Council overrides Fitzgerald’s veto, bans new fracking in county parks,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 19, 2022,

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “High levels of hydrogen sulfide in Mon Valley spark advocates’ frustration,” October 15, 2022,

Maddie Aiken, “U.S. Steel hit with $458K fine for air pollution violations,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 3, 2022,

KDKA-TV, “DEP issues notice of violation to Shell cracker plant over emissions,” December 14, 2023,

Jessica Guay, “Two environmental groups file notice of intent to file a lawsuit against Shell cracker plant,” KDKA TV, February 3, 2023,

Jordan Anderson, Hallie Lauer, and Anya Litvak, “Beaver County res­i­dents on alert as state lead­ers stress the dan­gers of toxic chem­i­cals from Ohio train de­rail­ment,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 7, 2023,

Jordan Anderson, “Most East Palestine residents are home. But what does the future hold after the train derailment and fire?” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 11, 2023,

Tom Perkins, “Ohio catastrophe is ‘wake-up call’ to dangers of deadly train derailments,” Guardian, February 11, 2023,

Bernd Debusmann, Jr., “Ohio train derailment: Rail firm pulls out of meeting with residents,” British Broadcasting Corporation, February 16, 2023,

John Seewer, Michael Rubinkam, and Geoff Mulvihill, “Crew of train was alerted of overheated axle just before Ohio derailment, report says,” Los Angeles Times, February 23, 2023,

Justin Vellucci, “Brockovich steals show at train derailment seminar in Ohio,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 24, 2023,

Scott Dance, “EPA orders testing for highly toxic dioxins at Ohio derailment site,” Washington Post, March 2, 2023,

Quinn Glabicki, “Rule to protect public health during Mon Valley inversions is not working, Allegheny County Council hears,” Pittsburgh Public Source, March 3, 2023,

Jon Hurdle, “‘Green Steel’ would curb carbon emissions, spur economic revival in Southwest Pennsylvania, study says,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 18, 2023,

Joe Napsha, “Coal-fired Homer City power plant closing; future dim for 2 other regional facilities,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 18, 2023,

Julia Felton, “Operations on hold at Shell plant in Monaca,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 26, 2023,

Anya Litvak, “Shell tries to quash air quality fears as bad smells and elevated benzene counts emanate from Beaver County chemical plant,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 26, 2023,

Nick Ripatrazone, “Donora’s Suffocation,” Belt, May 3, 2023,

Kate Huangpu, “Federal money won’t be enough to solve Pa.’s abandoned oil and gas well problem, advocates say,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 11, 2023,

Patrick Varine, “Shell Appalachia fined $10 million for air quality violations from Beaver County ‘cracker’ plant,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 24, 2023,

Chris Deluzio and Molly Parzen, “‘Mining our Manners’: It’s time for Pa. to clean up its abandoned mines,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, May 29, 2023,

Quinn Glabicki and Lucas Dufalla, “In the Allegheny Valley, after a century of coal power, the towers have toppled,” Pittsburgh Public Source, June 2, 2023,

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “Photo gallery: Cheswick Generating Station’s smokestacks come down,” June 2, 2023,

Quinn Glabicki, “Inside Pennsylvania’s monitoring of the Shell petrochemical complex,” Pittsburgh Public Source, August 8, 2023,

Marc Levy, “A Pennsylvania study suggests links between fracking and asthma, lymphoma in children,” Associated Press, August 16, 2023,

Roman Hladio, “Study on health benefits of Neville Island coke plant closure raises questions about Clairton,” Public Source, September 5, 2023,

Kellen Stepler, “Attorney: Charges withdrawn against Springdale woman for not cutting grass since June implosion of smokestacks,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 10, 2023,

Jacob Fischler, “Biden administration to send $7 billion for clean hydrogen hubs in 16 states,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, October 13, 2023,

Sakshi Udavant, “Local groups voice frustrations over massive oil spill cleanup on the Monongahela River,” Prism, December 13, 2023,

Evan Robinson-Johnson, “U.S. Steel settles environmental suit, pledging millions in Mon Valley improvements,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 27, 2024,

Justin Vellucci, “‘This is what money smells like,’” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 4, 2024,

Laura Esposito, “U.S. Steel fined $1.9 million for emissions at Clairton Coke Works,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 27, 2024,

Kiley Bense and Victoria St. Martin, “For residents of Clairton, progress on air quality feels a long way off,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, March 21, 2024,

Anya Litvak, “Pennsylvania’s many orphaned wells just might yield a pot of gold,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 1, 2024,

Steve Bohnel, “Allegheny County withdraws request to EPA to be labeled in compliance with federal air quality standards,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 16, 2024,

  1. [1]Mark Byrnes, “What Pittsburgh Looked Like When It Decided It Had a Pollution Problem,” Bloomberg, June 5, 2012,

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