MON VALLEY (KDKA) — More than 60 elected officials from Allegheny County signed an open letter calling for clean air in our region.

Sixty-three elected officials signed the letter Wednesday morning after standing outside the Pittsburgh City Council Chambers, calling for a crackdown on industrial pollution.

“We want to make sure that residents are able to live a life with clean air and clean water,” said rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny. “We understand the history that U.S. Steel and industrial sites have in the Mon Valley. But in 2019, there are the capabilities to clean up those industries.

The letter notes that much of the problem comes from a handful of industrial polluters, including the Cheswick Power and the Clairton Coke Works Plants.

State rep. Austin Davis, whose district is in the Mon Valley, introduced legislation to increase fines when companies pollute the air.

The bill also requires companies to notify residents when there has been an accident or a fire that impacts the air quality.

“The health department has a role in assessing the health of the facility and what’s going on in the air quality,” Davis said. “But we want to make sure that immediately, the companies notify residents that there has been a violation and residents need to take precautions.”

Pittsburgh is a neighbor to the industrial polluters, and city leaders said they are doing their part to help decrease pollution.

“We’re doing clean construction sites now that use less diesel,” councilman Corey O’Connor said. “We’re buying new fleets that use less diesel engines. So we’re trying to get to that within our own municipality, but we also need help from the surrounding.”

Lisa Washington