Chatham News

Rachel Carson Institute hosts an evening forum on air pollution in western Pennsylvania

Fiona Fisher, RCI Communication and Outreach Specialist

March 25, 2011

PITTSBURGH (March 25, 2011) … Don Hopey and David Templeton, authors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Mapping Mortality series, will lead an evening forum with individuals featured in the series. The Stories, The Science and The Solutions: Air Pollution in Western Pennsylvania will pull the people from the pages to share their struggles and concerns. A question and answer session will follow, allowing the audience to ask questions of the authors, the featured individuals, air quality and health experts, as well as representatives from the EPA Region 3 office in Philadelphia.

Hosted by Chatham University’s School of Sustainability and the Environment and the Rachel Carson Institute, the forum will be Wednesday, March 30 at 5:30 p.m. in Chatham’s University’s Eddy Theater. The event is free and open to the public. Supporting organizations include the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, Women for a Healthy Environment, The Center for Coalfield Justice, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture), The Environmental Integrity Project and The Group Against Smog and Pollution. For more information call 412-365-2498 or email

5:30 p.m.
Reception with informational tables from groups involved and hair testing for mercury by the Sierra Club

Welcome from David Hassenzahl, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Sustainability and the Environment at Chatham University. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporters Don Hopey and Dave Templeton will give an overview of their series Mapping Mortality that will include a short film by Post-Gazette videographer Doug Oster.

Members from various communities from around the region will share their stories, featuring photographs from the series as captured by Post-Gazette photographer Robin Rombach.
• Deb Evans – mother of four from Elrama – she lives near the GenOn Energy’s Elrama Power Plant in the Monongahela Valley.
• Herman Marshman – President of IBEW Local 272 at the First Energy’s Bruce Mansfield Power Plant and is concerned about the health of the workers at the plant as well as folks sharing the fenceline.
• Yma Smith – lifelong resident of LaBelle, PA – a small town in the shadow of one of our region’s coal ash dumps that receives ash from several coal-fired power plants.
• Janet Strahosky – activist from Avalon, PA concerned about the affects of pollution from Neville Island on her community.
• Martin Gariggan – Resident of Springdale, PA concerned about the affect GenOn Energy’s Cheswick Power plant is having on his community.

Environmental and health experts will introduce themselves with a brief presentation
• PatriciaDeMarco – Director, Rachel Carson Institute
• Neil Donahue – Professor of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, and Engineering andPublic Policy at Carnegie Mellon University
• John Graham – Senior Scientist at Clean Air Task Force

Representatives from the Region 3 Office of the Environmental Protection Agency will discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s role in protecting public health
• Jacqueline Lewis – Environmental Engineer, Region 3 EPA Office
Responsible for Pennsylvania’s State Implementation Plan, Jacqueline recently participated in a tour of the Mon Valley hosted by Clean Water Action.
• Cathleen Kennedy – Community Air Toxics Coordinator, Region 3 EPA Office

Questions from the Audience

Randy Francisco the Sierra Club’s Pennsylvania Beyond Coal to Clean Energy Organizing Representative will discuss next steps and actions you can take.

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information call 800-837-1290 or visit