“Some of the problem plants are located in the region and sit along main waterways. The Cheswick Generating Station, located on the Allegheny River in Springdale, has had an expired permit since 2012. Genter claims it’s the fourth worst plant in the country for lead discharge, an alarming detail in light of Pittsburgh’s water troubles.
“‘When Pittsburgh has gone through a drinking water lead crisis over the past several years, that plant has continued to operate with outdated controls,’ he adds. ‘Certainly, that’s not the cause of the drinking water crisis in Pittsburgh, but it’s certainly a contributing factor.’ . . .
“Fortunately, the permit situation offers the public an opportunity to pressure state representatives to regulate polluters. As part of the process, PennFuture and the Sierra Club would review the permits and give feedback during the public comment period, which allows citizens in the region to raise their concerns. Genter says a hearing for the Cheswick Generating Station is expected in early March.
“‘It’s a good opportunity, especially during an election year, for people to voice their opinions publicly and consistently at all these meetings about how they think these plants should be permitted,’ says Genter. ‘This does not fix everything. What this does do is set the stage for a year of committed activism, committed presence and committed advocacy to push our political leaders and regulators assigned by those leaders to fulfill our wishes and giving us the clean water we’re guaranteed under the Pennsylvania constitution.'”