Allegheny Front

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

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. 

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

Nov 5, 2018

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

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.


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

“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.