NEVILLE ISLAND (KDKA) — The continued emissions from the DTE Shenango coke works on Neville Island and the failure to resolve pollution issues led to an unusual mass resignation by seven members of Shanango’s Good Neighbor Working Group on Tuesday morning.
Clint Hoover of Avalon tried to present the group’s resignation to company officials.
“If he doesn’t want to come down to get it, then we’ll just have to leave it I guess,” Hoover told the Shenango security guard.
Although company officials wouldn’t meet them, the resigned members said their monthly meetings with Shenango had become all talk and no action.
“We’ve had enough,” said Ted Popovich of Ben Avon. “They seem to be pandering to us. They give us nice free meals when we meet with them once a month, but other than that we don’t see any improvements in our air pollution.”
The company disagrees.
“Shenango has made significant improvements over the past five years to improve the battery’s environmental performance. Shenango has reduced emissions and improved water discharge quality,” spokeswoman Randi Berris told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.
But committee members say the odor tells a different story.
“This kind of pollution is actually worse than what we had when I grew up when the sheets were black and the porches were black,” noted Barbara Pace of Emsworth. “You can’t see these kind of particulars. We’re breathing them in.”
For residents in the North Boros like Avalon, downwind of Neville Island, pollution from companies on that island raise very real health concerns.
When the county found the highest rate of asthma at local schools, it was a wake-up call, says Avalon Borough manager Harry Dilmore, who used to attend meetings with Shenango.
“It got to the point there wasn’t a lot of meat on the bone,” said Dilmore.
Substantive or not, Shenango says its January meeting is still on.
“We invite the community members who quit today to come back to the table and continue the open dialogue with us,” said Berris.