Allegheny Front

Allegheny Front is a radio program covering environmental issues in Western Pennsylvania.

Study Finds Link Between Air Pollution And Risk Of Stroke For People With AFib

Sep 17, 2020
Reid Frazier / The Allegheny Front

People with the heart disorder, atrial fibrillation (AFib), who are exposed to greater levels of air pollution have a 1.2-fold higher risk of stroke than their peers who live with less pollution.

That’s according to a study published this week by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System and Drexel University.

Climate Change To Bring More Smoggy Days To Pittsburgh

Sep 2, 2020
Keith Srakocic / AP

Pollution levels in American cities have fallen in the decades since the passage of clean air laws in the 1970s. And even though cars and factories are emitting less, days with high smog might increase in the years to come. The reason: climate change.


The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed relaxing two Obama-era regulations on waste products from coal-fired power plants, a move environmental groups say would prolong the risk of toxic spills or drinking water contamination.

Popular Backyard Fires Aren't Fun For Everyone, Wood Smoke Is Bad For Your Health

Nov 4, 2019
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Most of us don’t need fires to cook our food or keep us warm. But they’re a tradition, and a way to unwind with friends and family, and maybe make s’mores around the flames. But there’s a darker side to popular backyard fire pits: wood smoke is bad for your health.

Just ask Carol Wivell. She moved to her home in McKeesport, south of Pittsburgh, about seven years ago.

“I would just like to emphasize the fact that I do love to work in my yard, when I feel well enough to do it,” Wivell said. “Wood smoke makes that difficult.”

Outdoor Afro Celebrates Freedom In Nature

Oct 24, 2019
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Rue Mapp started Outdoor Afro as a kitchen table blog ten years go to shift the visual representation of who we imagine gets outside. The site has evolved into a nonprofit with Outdoor Afro leaders and participants all over the country. Mapp is the recipient of the 2019 Heinz Award for the Environment.

Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Jessica Lewis says shucking an oyster is like picking a lock.

The Philosophy Of Climate Denial

Sep 19, 2019
Natacha Pisarenko / AP

How do you change the minds of climate deniers and people who doubt the scientific process in general? We ask a philosopher of science for some answers.

Lee McIntyre is a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University and a Lecturer in Ethics at Harvard Extension School. He has written books about defending science and fighting back against “alternative facts.”

Parents Petition Pittsburgh Public Schools To Stop Herbicide Spraying

Aug 29, 2019
Andy Kubis / Allegheny Front

A common but controversial herbicide is used on school grounds across Pennsylvania to kill weeds. But a group of concerned parents and others in Pittsburgh are raising questions about its use. 

So Long Clean Power Plan. It Was Nice Knowing You.

Jul 11, 2019
Andy Kubis / The Allegheny Front

It feels like a million years ago, but once upon a time the Obama administration created a sweeping rule to curb carbon emissions from the power sector. That would have dealt a big blow to coal-fired power plants around the country. 

Citizens Stepped In To Protect Water When Ohio Did Not

Jul 10, 2019

Ten years ago, the fracking industry was already booming in Pennsylvania, but people in Ohio were just starting to hear about it. Many were excited that it would help eastern Ohio’s struggling rural economy. 

Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

Deciding what happens on private property might seem like a basic right. But when it comes to fracking, Ohio and other oil and gas-producing states have laws that can force landowners to lease their underground mineral rights to energy companies.

Art That Grows Awareness And Appreciation For Trees

Jul 4, 2019
Courtesy of Ashley Cecil

The walls of artist Ashley Cecil’s studio are covered with flora and fauna, from shapes of different bird species cut from brown paper to bold images of flowers in pink and green.

Annual Sojourn Promotes River Recreation And Education

Jun 27, 2019
Cambria Regional Chamber

The 20th annual Stony-Kiski-Conemaugh Rivers Sojourn brought out a colorful parade of kayaks and canoes earlier this month. The four-day, 44-mile journey is sponsored by the Conemaugh Valley Conservancy in order to heighten awareness and inspire appreciation for the watershed that encompass 1,888 square-miles of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Trying To Keep Bats Flying In The Face Of An Epidemic

May 21, 2019
Brent Sewall / Temple University

Inside an abandoned railroad tunnel in Central Pennsylvania, Greg Turner is up on a ladder holding a long pole, picking little brown bats off the ceiling as if they were fruit.

It’s mid-March and the bats are still hibernating. Turner, a biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, is with a team of Tyvek-suited researchers testing whether a common chemical can help these creatures survive the epidemic of white-nose syndrome.

Anne Danahy / WPSU

On a recent spring night, Jim Julian took a group through the woods on a path cut by power lines in search of vernal pools and the creatures that live there in the spring.

Surveying Salamanders In Hopes Of Finding An Endangered Mussel

Apr 16, 2019
Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

Freshwater mussels once numbered in the millions in the Ohio River. But the industrialization of Pittsburgh’s rivers — coal mines, steel mills and dams — harmed many species of mussels. Some disappeared, unable to survive in the muddy, polluted waters. 

The Pageant Queen On An Environmental Mission

Feb 22, 2019
Kara Holsopple

There is no one way to be an environmentalist, and no one knows that better than Rachel Rakovan.

Study: Healthier Diets Lower In Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Feb 14, 2019
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Many people assume a healthy diet is also good for the environment. A recently published study lends some credence to that conventional wisdom.

Ohio River Compact Considers Vote To Eliminate Its Pollution Standards

Feb 13, 2019
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Radio

A multi-state commission charged with ensuring water quality in the Ohio River will consider whether to eliminate its pollution control standards at its meeting on Thursday. 

How To Talk To Kids About The Scary Effects Of Climate Change

Jan 31, 2019
UN Photo/Mark Garten

Dire climate change predictions and the impacts of global warming that we’re already experiencing can be tough for adults to handle. So how do we talk to kids about it?

Ohio Pipeline Explosion Injures 2, Damages 3 Homes

Jan 23, 2019
Courtesy of Trina Moore

Residents in Noble County, Ohio, about a two hours drive west of Pittsburgh, are recovering after a natural gas pipeline explosion rocked their community on Monday morning. Two people were injured, and three homes were damaged.

Second Ethane Cracker Closer To Reality In Ohio

Jan 22, 2019
Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley Resource

In late December, environmental regulators in Ohio approved both the air and water discharge permits for an ethane cracker in Belmont County, Ohio, paving the way for the project to get started. 

It Was The Biggest Climate Conference Since Paris. Here's What Happened

Jan 3, 2019
Czarek Sokolowski / AP

Three years ago, most of the world’s nations signed onto the Paris Climate Agreement, which committed countries to do their best to avert a climate catastrophe. Well, things are different now–especially in the United States. President Donald Trump has vowed to take the U.S.

What's At Stake Under The New Trump Water Rule?

Dec 21, 2018
Chris O'Meara / AP

When President Trump started his tenure he promised to repeal something called the ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule.  And this week he made good on that promise.

The revised definition of “Waters of the United States” was released by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers on Dec. 11.

Fighting Air Pollution With Stories And Friendship

Dec 14, 2018
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Miriam Maletta opens her hair salon in Clairton, southeast of Pittsburgh, at 11 a.m. on Thursdays. Amid boxes piled boxes piled up on padded chairs, and her Yorkie, Neyno, who dances in little circles on the linoleum floor, Maletta says her salon is finally getting a facelift. She’s been in business for 34 years and she has lived in Clairton all of her life. That’s evident as a cousin or a nephew stops by the shop to drop off Christmas donations for a local family she’s helping, or just to check in.

PFAS: What Is It? And Why Should You Care?

Dec 6, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

NOTE: This story comes from our partners at Michigan Radio’s Environment Report, a program exploring the relationship between the natural world and the everyday lives of people in Michigan.

There’s a class of chemicals you may have never heard of that’s been discovered in drinking water and at military and industrial sites across the country.

Tony Dejak / AP, file

East Liverpool could be considered beautiful, sitting along the Ohio River, with a view of the foothills. 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

There is no safe level of lead in the blood for kids. We know kids are exposed to lead through water, and lead paint in older homes and even in schools.

Photographs And Poetry Reveal Tension Fracking Brings To Pennsylvania

Nov 22, 2018
Steven Rubin

Julia Spicher Kasdorf is a poet, and professor of English and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Penn State University. Steven Rubin is a photographer, and Associate Professor of Art, also at Penn State.

How Climate Change Hurts Kids' Health

Nov 8, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

The latest UN climate report caused a lot of headlines, and alarm. It warned that we have about a decade to make the changes necessary to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.