Pittsburgh takes notice of Shenango Coke Works

Pittsburgh has been taking notice of DTE Energy’s Shenango Coke Works' activities on Neville Island thanks to the Shenango Channel (a time-lapse video feed of the island). In November alone three articles were published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in regards to the channel and Shenango Coke Works activities. 

Shenango Channel keeps an eye on the Neville Island sky

Randy Sargent, a senior systems scientist in the CREATE Lab, said the Shenango Channel empowers residents with an interactive way to access evidence in one location to support what they see or smell.

“What we’re seeing already is that the conversation is moving from allegations and denials — a ‘he said-she said’ situation — to a new thing that provides a lot more certainty and transparency,” he said. “These cameras are showing fugitive emissions from the coking operation and doing so in a powerful way.”

On November 16, Post-Gazette Environment reporter Don Hopey put a spotlight on just what the Shenango Channel does. For anyone not familiar with the channel and its origins this article is a great resource. Read the full article here.

"But what I see in the video [Shenango Channel]," he said, referring to images from the "Shenango Channel" that were projected on a screen at the front of the meeting room, "is totally unacceptable." -David Arnold, Acting Director of the EPA's Region III Air Protection Devision
Just a few days later the news broke that "federal and county regulators are reviewing whether recent, continuing, air pollution emissions problems at DTE Energy’s Shenango Coke Works on Neville Island put the facility in violation of its 2012 federal consent decree." 

The Post-Gazette reported that three EPA administrators from the Region III Air Protection Division in Philadelphia: Dave Arnold, acting director; Zelma Maldonado, associate director of enforcement; and Jim Hagedorn, a senior enforcement inspector attended the community meeting of the grassroots citizens group, Allegheny County Clean Air Now. Read the full article here.

...you don’t have to be a pollution specialist to be able to keep an eye on the smokestacks yourself. Now people wary of the plant’s emissions are able to watch the results, 24/​7, even in their pajamas.
A few days later the Post-Gazette's Editorial Board weighed in on the importance of the civilian eye and creating the citizen scientist. The Editorial Board recalls Pittsburgh's captivation with the "eagle cam" last spring. They go on to say, "Raptors are one thing, but will people be as enthralled watching time-lapse video of air pollution? If they care about their health, they should be." Read the full article here.

Check out the video tour of the Shenengo Channel to become a citizen scientist and be witness to Pittsburgh's air quality.