Allegheny County Health Department Sued Over Clean Air Act Permits

Environmental groups seek to force agency to act on chemical facility pollution

Pittsburgh, PA — The national advocacy group Food & Water Watch, represented by the Environmental Integrity Project, filed a lawsuit in the Court of Common Pleas against the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) over the agency’s failure to issue Title V air quality permits for the Synthomer and Neville Chemical facilities.

The suit argues that ACHD is required to administer Title V operating permits under the federal Clean Air Act, but has failed to do so with either facility.

The Snythomer plant in West Elizabeth, though a major source of local air pollution, has never been issued a Title V permit from ACHD. The company applied for a permit in February 2022, but ACHD did not take action by the 18-month deadline (which was August of this year). The Neville Chemical facility’s Title V permit expired over three years ago; though the company applied for a renewal at the time, ACHD failed to take appropriate action by the October 2021 deadline.

“It is long overdue that chronic polluters are held accountable to the environmental laws designed to protect public health from dangerous pollution,” said Lisa Graves Marcucci, Pennsylvania Coordinator of Community Outreach with the Environmental Integrity Project. “ACHD has an obligation to issue these permits in a timely manner but that has not happened and some polluters, like these two facilities, are operating without proper permits, putting communities at risk.”

“Everyone in Allegheny County knows we have an air pollution crisis. It is beyond outrageous that our own health department fails to do the bare minimum to protect residents from polluters,” said Food & Water Watch Pennsylvania State Director Megan McDonough. “The folks who are forced to live with the impacts of this constant stream of pollution need the agency to do its job, and we’re going to make sure they do exactly that.”

Media contact: Tom Pelton, Environmental Integrity Project (443) 510-2574 or