EXPLAINER | Air Quality
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Air Quality

Several Pennsylvania cities place among the top 25 most polluted in the U.S., according to the American Lung Association, which uses data from the Environmental Protection Agency.

A coalition of eight Northeast states wants the EPA to crack down on air pollution coming from the Midwest. Pennsylvania has not signed the petition yet.

Mark H. Anbinder/Flickr

And many Pennsylvania counties, too, fare poorly in ALA ratings on ozone and particle pollution. Of 36 counties for which the organization had data, 16 received a grade of D or F for ozone levels. Of 25 counties with data, nine received a D or F for particle pollution.
The rise in use of natural gas over coal has contributed to a decrease in particulate matter in Pennsylvania’s air. A 2015 report by the United Health Foundation, using EPA data, showed that the state’s air pollution — measured by the public’s exposure to particulate matter — decreased each year but one since 2003.
However, in that report, Pennsylvania still ranked 48th in air quality in the U.S.

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Collette Williams and her son SaVaughn, 13, live a few blocks from the Clairton Coke Works.

East Liverpool, Ohio sits along the Ohio River at the border of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

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US Steel's Clairton Coke Works, near Pittsburgh.

The coal-fired Cheswick Generating Station produces electricity northeast of Pittsburgh.

Scott Reynolds, owner of Express Transmission in Beaver County, shows an array of gas cap adapters. The adapters are used as a part of Pennsylvania's vehicle emission testing program.

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One argument against keeping the tests: Most cars pass., and newer cars have better emission controls. Plus, one lawmaker said, why should neighboring counties have different sets of rules?

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PPL's Brunner Island  coal-fired plant located on the west bank of Susquehanna River.

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Activists: Clean up coke plant

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