“Experts and local advocates are not certain that the gas, petrochemicals and plastics industries – and the emissions they’ll inevitably vent – will be compatible with continued growth in the other, cleaner sectors in biomedicine, tech and education that have also helped fuel Pittsburgh’s recent boom.
“‘It’s hard to say if these industries can coexist,’ says Ashleigh Deemer, the Western Pennsylvania director for the advocacy group PennEnvironment and a Democrat who ran for Pittsburgh City Council last year. ‘It’s hard to track: Nobody holds a press conference when they decide not to come here – not to come to our Google campus or Carnegie Mellon. But there’s certainly a dissonance here, and there seems to be a narrative perpetuated by folks and by leaders that we need to bring the mills back to get jobs.’
“As investments in gas – and especially hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – have surged in the past decade, concerns about air quality have become a regular flashpoint. Increasingly, it’s not only residents and environmentalists who have sounded the alarm but employees of the city’s universities, tech start-ups and biomedical companies, which strive to cultivate Silicon Valley’s health-conscious and clean-cut image as they compete with cities such as San Francisco, Portland and New York for engineers, developers, coders and Ph.D. candidates.
“‘The air quality issue is the No. 1 issue that loses me strong engineers, strong scientists,” Andrew Moore, dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, told Pittsburgh Quarterly last year.”
FULL STORY Published April 27, 2018 via U.S. News & World Report