Alarmed by the deteriorating air quality in Central Pennsylvania caused by PM2.5 (soot), as noted in an August 2005 public letter signed by over 100 area physicians, a faith-based group of concerned citizens formed the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania (CAB). CAB is an organization dedicated to achieving clean air to protect our health and quality of life. They accomplish their mission by raising public awareness of air quality issues, advocating, promoting and coordinating policy and practices for clean air and monitoring air quality.
Air pollution levels in some parts of Pennsylvania are among the nation’s highest. In addition to other health implications, new research links increased levels of air pollution to higher COVID-19 death rates. To orient these concerns, this panel will include a review of key air pollution sources across Pennsylvania. Community members will reflect on localized air pollution considerations and potential opportunities for engagement.
DEC 16, 2020 WEDNESDAY
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Best Practices for Large Scale Development – Understanding the Law
A growing number of municipalities are looking for ways to reconcile local quality of life consistent with new large scale development, including redevelopment. In this program, speakers will address the current state of municipal land use law, the economics of large scale development, and best practices for mitigating environmental and social impacts of large development.
Professor John Dernbach, Director, Environmental Law and Sustainability Center at Widener University Commonwealth Law School will moderate the discussion.
Donald W. Miles, Land Use and Zoning attorney, former municipal solicitor in Lehigh County. He will speak on the Municipalities Planning Code.
Jamie Keener, Chief Executive Officer of the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation will speak of the economic and geographic factors that affect companies’ decisions to site warehousing projects.
Thomas Au, President, the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania, will speak on best practices that can mitigate environmental and social concerns for siting large development. He will introduce a Best Practices Model Ordinance.
CAB commented to DEP on its proposed Air Quality monitoring plan. Cumberland County is one of the counties in Pennsylvania that has projected air quality alerts for high levels of ozone. The plan lacks a monitor for ozone in Cumberland County. CAB will ask that DEP install an ozone monitor in Cumberland County.
CAB plants trees along Cumberland Valley Rail Trail.
CAB examines the role of trees in mitigating air pollution, selecting the best trees to improve air quality.
CAB hosts speaker at Bosler Memorial Library on history of air pollution control in southern California.
CAB board members explain how air pollutants affect children.
The Cumberland Conservation Collaborative (CCC) hosted a community forum at the Penn Township Volunteer Fire Department’s Social Hall. The forum, entitled “Preserving Cumberland County’s Rural Landscape & Natural Resources,” focused on development pressures in rural Cumberland County and discussed ways to preserve open space and its agricultural character.
Keeping Bees and Other Pollinators Safe. CAB heard from beekeepers and gardeners on how to maintain environmentally friendly gardens and lawns.
CAB hosted a conference at Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg on Reconciling Development and Quality of Life in our communities. Various speakers addressed development pressures, zoning issues, mitigating measures and the authority of local municipal officials.
CAB hosted a forum explaining the recently signed Paris Climate Accord at Dickinson College. Speakers addressed next steps and the U.S. role in implementing climate mitigation measures.
CAB comments on EPA new rules to set more protective standards for ozone. These new standards are designed to improve public health, particularly for at- risk groups, like children with asthma. CAB actively participated in the EPA rule setting process, providing comments and testimony.
CAB explains how Volkswagen cheated on diesel engine emissions tests and the consequences of its actions.
CAB comments to the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board on DEP smog plan to reduce emissions from major industrial sources.
CAB supports DEP efforts to reduce particulate emissions from wood burners.
CAB examines the Environmental Protection Agency’s School Flag Program. Schools raise a colored flag each day that corresponds to the local air quality forecast.
Carlisle Sentinel runs a three days series of articles about air pollution in the Cumberland Valley.
IdleAir opens its clean air heating and cooling station at the Flying J in Carlisle, PA off I-81, Exit 52. The IdleAir system provides clean air and other amenities to truck cabs during driver rest periods.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed updates to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution, including soot (known as PM2.5). These microscopic particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and have been linked to a wide range of serious health effects, including premature death, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as acute bronchitis and aggravated asthma among children.
CAB discusses the relationship between small particle pollution (PM2.5) and brain disorders.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set a rule to reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants from power plants. Specifically, these mercury and air toxics standards (MATS) for power plants will reduce emissions from new and existing coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units.
CAB awards Borough of Carlisle for adopting a road diet to reduce traffic congestion.
CAB supports US EPA efforts to reduce mercury pollution from large power plants.
CAB teaches a class at the Harrisburg Area Community College on the new restrictions on diesel engine idling and the health benefits from not idling.
Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act became effective. CAB is working to produce handouts about the requirements of the act to distribute to school districts, bus companies, and trucking companies.
Pennsylvania anti-idling state law (SB295) passed in the Senate and in the House. The bill was signed into law by the Governor Rendell. The law goes into effect on February 6, 2009.
CAB announces the Clean Air Partnership. The Carlisle Regional Medical Center, the Sentinel newspaper, and the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania joined together to form the Clean Air Partnership to protect the health of residents living, working, studying and playing in Cumberland County by providing them with information that will allow them to make informed decisions. The partnership purchased a continuously-reading EPA certified air quality monitor. The monitor will transmit both the daily PM2.5 readings in The Sentinel newspaper and the hourly updated readings on their website (www.cumberlink.com).
CAB gave testimony before the Pennsylvania House of Representative Transportation Committee at their hearings regarding Senate Bill 295 (anti-idling), with provisions similar to anti-idling regulations adopted by DEP.
DEP presented the anti-idling regulation to the Environmental Quality Board (EQB). The EQB approved the proposal of this regulation subject to public hearings, comment and additional review.
The Department moved forward with development of a proposed regulation considering the CAB’s suggested text.
DEP recommends a statewide idling rule would eliminate some diesel emissions and contribute to progress towards meeting and maintaining air standards as well as have fuel benefits.
CAB members participated on the panel of Dickinson College Clark Forum for Contemporary Issues program, “Local Air Quality: Past, Present & Future?”
The Environmental Quality Board (EQB), a state board that review environmental regulations for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), voted unanimously to accept for study the CAB petition to determine if a regulation limiting commercial diesel-engine idling is needed to improve air quality in Pennsylvania.
Published 15,000 Children’s Health Brochures for distribution in schools
First symposium with CAB participating in a panel presentation with Jesse Keen of Keen Transport and area trucking company owners and warehouse owners encouraging them to enforce anti-idling on their properties.
Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania formally incorporated as a nonprofit corporation.
Area doctors place an ad in newspapers to raise awareness of poor air quality in our area.