(Pittsburgh) July 12, 2018 Even as experts identify Allegheny County’s air as among the nation’s most unhealthy, money from fines paid by polluters is being stashed in the bank and spent on projects with no public health impact, Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner’s latest Taxpayer Alert says.
The County’s Clean Air Fund is being tapped for building projects that will not reduce pollution and could be funded through normal capital spending. Additionally, County legislation governing use of the Fund gives the Health Department incentive to avoid spending money on projects addressing air pollution in order to devote it to general operations.
“The Clean Air Fund has been utilized to fund pollution monitoring, solar energy installations, retrofits of gas-burning engines, and other initiatives. But the data show that much more must be done,” the report says. “The Clean Air Fund should be dedicated to projects that can meaningfully improve public health, and the Health Department must improve outreach to identify organizations that can benefit from these dollars.”