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  • Writer's pictureValley Clean Air Now

May 25 Valley Clean Air Now BBQ at Clairton Park: It was great to see everyone again!

Thursday, May 25, VCAN held our first in-person community event in a number of years. Clairton City Park's Pavilion 3 was our meeting place on a beautiful evening. We shared hot dogs and hamburgers grilled by VCAN Chairperson Qiyam Ansari. Drinks, pot luck dishes and cookies/deserts were also available. We talked with familiar friends and met new folks. Thanks to everyone for coming out.

For the latest info on VCAN: visit our website's news page,

VCAN phone 412.614.0227 weekdays 9am to 4pm

If you look carefully in the top of the picture above, you'll see the vapor plume from one of US Steel's Clairton Coke Works (CCW) quenching towers.

1. Environmental Integrity Project & Carnegie Mellon University Create Lab's Monitoring Report: Air Monitoring Stations at Clairton & Glassport Homes Show Excessive Benzene Since 2021 Require Fenceline Monitoring at CCW.

Two very knowledgeable and dedicated speakers spoke to VCAN members and friends in a call to action during the meal.

Lisa Marcucci is the PA Coordinator of Community Outreach for the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) based in Washington, DC. Ana Hoffman conducts air quality research for Carnegie Mellon's Create Lab.

Since December, 2021, both groups have supplied air monitors to nine homes in the Five Boroughs checking for benzene. Two of these monitors are at the homes of VCAN members. The readings have shown repeated dangerous levels of this cancer causing chemical is present. EIP has sent three letters to US Environmental Protection Agency Region 3 Director Adam Ortiz requesting the EPA to inspect the CCW facility and set up a system of fenceline air monitors to detect benzene before it leaves the plant.

In coalition with VCAN, Lisa and Ana have met with members of Glassport and Port Vue Town Councils to make them aware of these benzene readings. We have also asked these Councils to send letters to the Offices of Senators Casey and Federman requesting they pressure the EPA to:

  • immediately enter and inspect CCW;

  • force US Steel to establish a fenceline monitoring system for benzene and other toxic emissions; and

  • exercise permitting oversight and authority over U.S. Steel Clean Air Act permits.

In addition, Lisa and Ana have presented the same message to Jefferson Hills Council about the benzene.

2. VCAN to speak with Clairton City Council at June 13 Meeting: Opportunity for City Residents to Address Council about Benzene Contamination

It is our understanding of Clairton City Council procedure, that only City Residents may speak to Council when in session. Several Steering Committee members and VCAN supporters plan to address Council on the evening of June 13. They plan to:

  • raise recent benzene air contamination;

  • ask that Clairton City Council write letters to Seanators Casey & Fedderman supporting EIP/Create Labs; and

  • respond to a recent Post Gazette Newspaper article quoting two elected City officials.

3. VCAN to rent office space in Community Economic Development Corporation of Clairton Building Beginning June, 1.

Steering Committee Chairperson Qiyam Ansari has chosen to begin VCAN's lease of a single office space in the CEDCC Building next week. The CEDCC is located at 282 St.Clair Street in Clairton. VCAN has held Steering Committee meetings in the CEDCC Conference Room since January of this year.

Eventually we hope to host community meetings in the large space inside the CEDCC.

4. New to VCAN? Watch Our Right to Clean Air Video for background on the Clairton Coke Works and the fight for air quality in the Five Boroughs of Clairton, Glassport, Lincoln, Liberty and Port Vue.

Also includes footage of VCAN members Qiyam Ansari, Johnie Perryman, Art Thomas, Dave Meckel and Kim Meacham speaking at May, 2022 Allegheny County Health Department's Public Hearing on Clairton Coke Works Title V Permit.

Thank you. Let me know if you no longer want to be on email list. Tom Bailey, VCAN Secretary. All photos by Lisa Marcucci.

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