Allegheny Front

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

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. 

Environmentalists Could Change Election Outcomes. They Just Need To Vote.

Nov 5, 2018
istockphoto

Polls show that historically, many people who place a high value on environmental issues stay away from the voting booth. In the 2014 midterms, more than 15 million environmentalists didn’t show up on Election Day. 

Pollution Is Changing The Diet Of These Pittsburgh-Area Songbirds

Oct 18, 2018
Mike Dougherty

Legacy pollution from coal mining is changing how a native songbird eats, according to a new study published in the open access journal PeerJ by Brian Trevelline, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, and Steven Latta, Ph. D., Director of Conservation and Field Research at the National Aviary.

'Downstream' Documentary Looks At Pollution In Pennsylvania's Water

Oct 11, 2018
Downstream

A new documentary wades into the issues around the pollution and protection of Pennsylvania’s waterways. 

The Dangerous Work Of Building Pipelines

Oct 4, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

Building oil and gas pipelines can be dangerous work. And the fatality rate on the job reflects that. 

Why The Trump Resistance Keeps Winning In Court

Sep 27, 2018
Allen Allen / flickr

Judges have pushed back on Trump’s deregulatory agenda in sometimes rapid fire succession. 

Chimney Swifts Put On A Show Before Fall Migration

Sep 20, 2018
Steve Schroeder / Flickr

Recently a group of swift fans gathered outside of a Pittsburgh restaurant in anticipation.

Why Is The Mariner East Pipeline So Controversial?

Sep 13, 2018
Jon Hurdle / StateImpact Pennsylvania

This week, a pipeline exploded in Beaver County destroying one home and forcing two dozen people to evacuate. 

Your Takeout Meal Might Be Harming The Great Lakes

Aug 16, 2018
Mafalada 2001 / Flickr

There’s a scene in the 1967 film The Graduate where a well-meaning friend of the family pulls Dustin Hoffman’s character aside at his graduation party, and gives him this advice:

Fly Fishing Is Big In Central PA. Can We Keep It That Way?

Aug 15, 2018
Julie Grant

For people searching for the best fly-fishing spots to catch wild trout in the U.S., central Pennsylvania still makes top 10 lists, despite pollution from agriculture and development. The Allegheny Front went to meet some of the people who are working to keep these premier streams clean.

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It’s just before sunset, and 27-year-old Matt Kowalchuk is standing in the river, near the bank of Penns Creek in central Pennsylvania, not far from State College. He’s a fly-fishing guide, and chooses a leggy-looking lure from his box. It’s meant to catch wild trout.

Study Shows Area The Size Of Delaware Affected By Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

Jul 27, 2018
SkyTruth

“As far as we know, this is really the first time that there’s been this yearly dataset for central Appalachia,” said Andrew Pericak, a research analyst at Duke University and lead author of the new study.

Pennsylvania Town Raises Stink Over Factory Hog Farm

Jul 25, 2018
Gerry Broome / AP

When Allen Houck retired last year, he moved back to his grandparents farm, in the hills of Todd Township, Huntingdon County.

Three Pittsburgh Parks Vying To Be Added To National Register Of Historic Places

Jul 12, 2018
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Pittsburgh is chock full of historic buildings and monuments, but there’s a move to get recognition for more of its green spaces, too.

A Year Ago Peduto Challenged Trump On Climate Change. What’s Happened Since?

Jul 4, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

It’s been a year since President Trump proclaimed that he was elected to serve the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris as he announced that the U.S. would pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. 

What The Farm Bill Could Mean For Conservation Efforts In Pennsylvania

Jun 29, 2018
cjuneau / Flickr

The U.S. Senate passed its version the 2018 Farm Bill on Thursday, and it’s a sharp contrast to the bill that narrowly passed in the House last week. The Farm Bill is a massive, $860 billion dollar piece of legislation, and covers everything from crop insurance, to land conservation, to SNAP benefits, which provide food assistance.

Artist Reveals The Hidden Lives And Importance Of Amphibians

Jun 21, 2018
Courtesy of Ashley Cecil

Recently, Pittsburgh artist Ashley Cecil was in Frick Park, temporarily installing nine small, steel sculptures just outside the Frick Environmental Center.

Poet And Journalist Chronicles Human Cost Of Fracking In New Book

Jun 14, 2018
Macmillan Press

Poet and reporter Eliza Griswold’s nonfiction book, “Amity and Prosperity,” takes readers to rural Washington County, where Stacey Haney, a nurse, is living less than half a mile from fracking waste and drill cutting pits on a neighbor’s property.

Building A Better Bat Cave

Jun 5, 2018
Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

To save the bats of Pennsylvania, Greg Turner wants to build a better bat cave. Turner is a biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. His latest renovation project is a cave under a hillside in Central Pennsylvania. Indian Caverns used to be commercial cave, and there’s still an abandoned gift shop with fake display plants. It closed last year, and now the state is in the process of acquiring it as a way to preserve bats.

Joseph / Flickr

For people who remember their elementary school history, the Lewis and Clark expedition began more than 200 years ago as Capt. Meriwether Lewis and his crew made their way from Camp Dubois in Illinois to meet William Clark in Missouri to find new trade routes and explore the west.

PA Mother Works To Ban The Chemical That Killed Her Son

May 24, 2018

Lauren Atkins says her 31-year old son Joshua was the picture of health.

Andrew Harnik / AP

In this week’s episode of the Trump on Earth podcast, we explore a new rule that would throw out vast amounts of scientific research in the name of transparency.

Where Are The Trees Going In Allegheny County?

May 11, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

The nonprofit Tree Pittsburgh released some disturbing data about Allegheny County’s tree canopy earlier this year. 

Study: Songbird That Needs Clean Streams Threatened By Fracking

Apr 26, 2018
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren / flickr

The Louisiana waterthrush is one of the first migratory songbirds to appear in our region in the spring.

The Lure Of The Saw-Whet Owl

Apr 19, 2018

The Northern saw-whet owl is the symbolic face of conservation in Pennsylvania. The Wild Resource Conservation Program uses a saw-whet owl as its emblem, and the Commonwealth featured a saw-whet owl on its first specialty state license plate in 1993.

Fish, Birds And Mussels Get Their Own Business Plan In Pennsylvania

Apr 12, 2018

A new conservation strategy is underway in Western Pennsylvania. The Western Pennsylvania Business Plan for Restoration of Healthy Forests and Freshwater Habitat prioritizes funding for projects that focus on key species in important ecosystems to ultimately restore healthy forests and freshwater habitat in the region. The plan was developed with numerous conservation groups headed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The Health Risks Of Fracking From A To Z

Mar 29, 2018
Alex Brandon / AP

Over the last 4 years, the Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility have compiled a list of studies and reports which outline what they call “the risks and harms of fracking” to public health.

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