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  • Writer's pictureQiyam Ansari

Community Meeting Agenda

  • Introductions: 5 min

  • VCAN 2023 Goals & Projects

  • EPA Coke Ovens Air Toxics Standards.

Goals of 2023 & Projects

  • Improve residents' health, quality of life, and understanding of air pollution impacts by installing portable air cleaners for 300 residents in Clairton and adjacent municipalities.

  • Conduct a community health survey to assess the prevalence of specific health outcomes in residents of the Mon Valley with a goal of 500 completed surveys.

  • To compensate and grow VCAN leaders through fair stipends, transportation, and childcare support for those who participate in leading the strategic direction of VCAN, and contribute to the working group projects.

Programs of 2023

EPA Air Monitoring

  • We want to hold public powers and private companies accountable for their responsibilities to uphold environmental protections. To do that, we hope to establish 12 new monitoring sites throughout the Mon Valley to collect better data on air quality and raise awareness with residents on how the reading affects them.

    • VCAN will recruit 12 new monitoring locations in Clairton or nearby communities, based on community interest and local hotspot observations.

    • VCAN will actively work to educate the community on monitoring findings, both by promoting community sessions and using its website and other communication tools.

    • By providing community air monitors VCAN members will be able to better understand air pollution impacts on their communities and will receive training in order to ensure monitoring can continue after the project is concluded.

    • VCAN will host community engagement sessions to:

      • Learning from community members where poor air quality hotspots exist in order to determine monitoring/sampling locations.

      • Learning from community members what their goals are for learning about contaminants in the air they are breathing.

      • Learning from community members what are the best methods for communicating the results of monitoring/sampling, taking into account community goals and technology access.

      • Education of community members regarding monitoring results and analysis.

Air Filter Program

  • Improve residents' health, quality of life, and understanding of air pollution impacts by installing portable air cleaners for 300 residents in Clairton and adjacent municipalities.

Community Health Assessment

  • There is widespread concern among community members in VCAN that outdoor air pollution is contributing to poor health outcomes in residents. VCAN is working on a community health assessment pilot project to assess the prevalence of specific health outcomes in Mon Valley residents.

    • Residents who complete this Health Survey will be eligible to receive a $20 gift card.

Advocacy and Education Design for Deployment

  • VCAN will collaborate with CMU Design students to create new advocacy and design materials suitable for public engagement around air quality—not only to explain the harms of the poor air quality that we face but also to concretely suggest specific ways in which residents can respond to these harms.

EPA Coke Ovens Air Toxics Standards.

Mon Valley Residents Urge Action by EPA on Coke Ovens Air Toxics Standards.

(Clairton) – Members of Valley Clean Air Now (VCAN), a group of Mon Valley residents, have been working on a benzene monitoring project for the last 18 months to show the harmful effects of these toxins on homes throughout the Mon Valley. We have sent 4 separate letters to the EPA urging action for US Steel to install Fence Line Monitoring around its facilities. After much pressure from residents, the EPA has come out with new regulations that would require US Steel to do exactly what we have asked for.

Art Thomas, a Clairton resident, stated, “ The people of Clairton should be given the opportunity to breathe clean air, it’s time for US Steel to clean up or shut down.” Cheryl Hurt, a Clairton resident stated, “We have suffered enough and are fed up that residents' voices are overlooked.”

Valley Clean Air Now is grateful for the EPA taking action to ensure fenceline monitoring for benzene but would like to make sure residents' health is taken into consideration, which is why we are suggesting the following changes to the regulation.

Valley Clean Air Now believes that EPA should include the following actions in the new Coke Ovens Air Toxics Standards.

  • We want a 1-hour opacity standard to identify short-term periods of high opacity that are not identified from the current 24-hour measure of 15 percent opacity.

  • We want fenceline monitoring for benzene with a 3-microgram action level.

  • We want the highest MACT floor limits for 15 of the 17 unregulated hazardous air pollutants.

EPA will hold a virtual public hearing on the proposed amendments to the Coke Ovens Air Toxics Standards.

The deadline to pre-register for the hearing is August 28, 2023.EPA considers all comments equally, whether submitted in writing to the docket or given orally at a public hearing. EPA will take word on the proposal until October 2, 2023.

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