New Data: Pittsburgh’s Air Quality Dramatically Improves With Increased Natural Gas Usage

Pittsburgh Works a coalition of business, labor, and civic leaders working together to build a brighter economic future for the Pittsburgh region, released an encouraging report this week demonstrating the impressive strides Pittsburgh has made in improving its air quality over the past 20 years. The data show that the impression of Pittsburgh as a dirty industrial city are outdated and that the steps taken in recent years have improved the air quality to being better than the average American city.

Their findings follow a larger regional trend. In late January, the Allegheny County Health Department announced that air measured at all eight of the county’s air quality monitors has met federal air quality standards for the first time ever.

According to Pittsburgh Works’ report, “Clearing the Air,” one reason for this marked improvement in regional air quality, particularly in the past 10 years, is the increased adoption of natural gas that has been made available due to advances in drilling technology that opened up the Marcellus Shale. Affordable, clean-burning natural gas is powering Pittsburgh’s future, and we applaud the progress that has been made so far, but there is more to be done to continue this momentum and ensure the brightest possible future for the region.

Full adoption of natural gas, which would save consumers money and help build on these trends toward cleaner air, is hindered by a lack of infrastructure necessary to link Pennsylvania’s abundant energy resources to consumers. Pipelines are the safest and most efficient way to transport the vast amounts of energy that fuel our modern lifestyles and economic well-being. And reports like this show they contribute to healthier air quality. Continued investment in energy infrastructure is essential, not only for the value it brings to our economy but also for the environmental benefits we achieve through emission reductions from greater utilization of natural gas over dirtier fuels.