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The Allegheny Front

Essential Public Media

Every week, our 29-minute podcast brings you all the environmental news and stories to keep you in the know in Pennsylvania and beyond.


Pittsburgh, PA


Every week, our 29-minute podcast brings you all the environmental news and stories to keep you in the know in Pennsylvania and beyond.




67 Bedford Square Pittsburgh, PA 15203 412-697-2933


Episode for February 16, 2024

We break down all the air quality news from the last few weeks: a new soot rule, a landmark settlement with U.S. Steel over a 2018 fire, and the EPA's rejection of the company's air permit. We'll also hear about how future methane-spewing blowouts from gas storage facilities could happen because of design flaws in the wells. Plus, the search for an endangered flying squirrel in Pennsylvania. We have news about a new effort to bring in federal clean energy funds to the Pittsburgh region, outdoor recreation in Pa., funds to clean up coal mine pollution and more.


Episode for February 9, 2024

Some residents of East Palestine want the EPA to test for contamination in their homes, but the EPA says it won’t. We ask why not. Our reporters discuss what they learned in our investigation into the public health and environmental response to the disaster and what they will keep their eyes on in the coming months. Plus, how worried should we be about the health impacts of toxic PFAS chemicals in our bodies? News about EPA's new air pollution rule, DEP's request that frackers disclose their chemicals, and proposed money for an energy efficiency program.


Episode for February 2, 2024

After last year's train derailment in East Palestine, a local stream remains contaminated. We'll examine why residents living about the polluted water are still concerned. We talk with a Pennsylvania resident just over the Ohio border who decided not to live full-time in her home. We find out what led to her decision and how she became an activist pushing for answers. And, people in East Palestine feel like the derailment fractured their community - they disagree about politics, the environment and health impacts. Plus, a study of East Palestine residents' health and Pennsylvania's River of the Year.


Episode for January 26, 2024

East Palestine, Ohio, is not the same place it was a year ago. Last February, a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials derailed there, near the Pennsylvania border, close to people's homes and businesses. Then, a few days later, 900,000 lbs of vinyl chloride was intentionally vented from 5 railcars and burned, leading to an explosion and a dark plume seen for miles around. Over the next three weeks, we'll explore what happened and what the fallout has been for residents. First, we hear from a mother who evacuated the town with her son, who was experiencing horrific symptoms, and why they haven't gone back. We examine the decision by health officials not to test residents for chemical exposure. We'll also hear from a researcher who thinks environmental regulators were too hasty in their assessment that the town was safe. And finally, we visit businesses trying to keep their shops open, some more successfully than others.


Episode for January 19, 2024

Since the East Palestine train derailment, local fire companies and first responders are looking at their own resources and training, and how they can prepare for the next derailment or environmental disaster. A new study looks at whether fossil fuel workers have the right skills and live in the right places for future clean energy jobs. Plus, a new study identifies hundreds of chemicals in everday products that increase breast cancer risk. We have news about Philadelphia's renewable energy goals, Norfolk Southern's progress, Future Farmers of America and solar jobs.


Episode for January 12, 2024

Sometimes a highway map or an app isn’t detailed enough for outdoor explorers. So, a State College company created a new map featuring Pennsylvania's parks, forests, and hiking trails. Also, it's the final week of voting for Pennsylvania's River of the Year. We'll learn more about the Allegheny, Youghiogheny and Lackawaxen rivers. Plus, a dance troupe in Reading, Pa. is trying to do their part to improve a riverside park that has an uncertain future. News about Pennsylvania solar energy milestone, a $2 million fine for U.S. Steel's Clairton Coke Works, clean school buses, new PFAS rules and jobs in the outdoors.


Episode for January 5, 2024

New federal rules for hydrogen projects aim to ensure tax credits go to clean hydrogen production, but some Pennsylvania lawmakers aren’t happy. We’ll also hear about how railway workers and safety advocates are pushing for new solutions to prevent derailments like the one in East Palestine, Ohio. Plus, to help injured birds recover, a sanctuary is building natural habitats with plant waste from a nearby botanical garden. We have news about a Pennsylvania bill to increase the renewable energy standard, new federal methane rules, low natural gas impact fees and two tick studies.


Episode for December 29, 2023

This week on The Allegheny Front, a look back at stories from 2023. We'll revisit a story about how people in East Palestine, Ohio are working through their anxiety with few mental health resources available after the Norfolk Southern train derailment. Hydrogen was a big energy transition story in 2023. After the announcement that Pennsylvania will have a part in two hydrogen hubs meant to reduce carbon emissions, we asked what's next? And in considering the energy transition, what about the people left behind in communities after fossil fuel plants shut down? We visited a community in Ohio where a coal-fired power plant closed, and people gathered to memorialize what it meant to the community.


Episode for December 22, 2023

Plants can make music, with a little help from a device that captures electric impulses. This week, we'll hear some of the beautiful music they can make. We'll also learn about an urban farmer who created a children’s book about how a tomato plant grows. She worked with a group of little kids to do it. Plus, an author revisits the Youghiogheny River of his youth to find some changes for the better.


Episode for December 15, 2023

For the first time, health was a focus at the UN climate conference and advocates were pleased. We'll also learn how climate-related weather like flash floods and extreme heat impact people experiencing homelessness. Plus, people who live near a proposed campground at a state park are circulating a petition to stop the plan. We have news about whitewater recreation in Clearfield County, combating a deadly insect threatening hemlocks in the Allegheny National Forest and how you can vote for Pa.'s 2024 River of the Year.


Episode for December 8, 2023

As the timeline for meaningful action on reducing carbon emissions grows shorter, how is the transition to cleaner forms of energy going? And as climate change creates more intense storms, Pennsylvania wants to make it easier for more residents to buy flood insurance. Plus, a look at some state and federal actions that might finally help reduce kids’ exposure to lead in water. We also have news about the electric grid in the Mid-Atlantic, a solar project in Adams County, polluted streams in Pittsburgh and fracking in Ohio state parks.


Episode for December 1, 2023

Governor Josh Shapiro is appealing a court decision that stopped Pennsylania from joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. We'll find out why and what it means for climate action. As more solar projects are planned in rural areas, farmers are signing their sheep up for something called solar grazing. Plus, environmental activists from the Gulf Coast met up with anti-fracking activists in Appalachia to strategize and build solidarity. We have news about COP28 climate talks, calls for more radon testing in Pa., hydrogen, fracking and more.


Episode for November 24, 2023

It's Thanksgiving week, our favorite holiday at The Allegheny Front. (Well, one of them at least). This week, we give you tips for not creating the food waste that is cooking the planet and tell you about a pilot program that hopes to bring composting to Centre County. We also visit with the foragers and farmers who help make Pennsylvania the largest mushroom producer in the United States. And, we take a trip to a glacial deposit where bears feast on wild cranberries. We have news about a bill to address lead in school water fountains and a new historical sign that marks Penn State's agricultural roots.


Episode for November 17, 2023

For years, residents in Westmoreland County complained about a hazardous waste landfill. Now, federal investigators say it may be breaking several laws. Plus, despite dozens of protestors, an Ohio commission approved fracking in state parks and wildlife areas. We also revisit an interview with Tykee James, a leader in equitable access to outdoor spaces. Plus, a story about a Pennsylvania couple who visited all 124 of Pa.'s state parks. We have news about the National Climate Assessment, the one-year anniversary of Shell's cracker plant opening, federal money for environmental justice projects, and a milestone in land conservation in Pennsylvania.


Episode for November 10, 2023

Environmental groups protested outside of a coal and steel conference in Pittsburgh this week. We visit the first farm in Allegheny County to take advantage of a rule change that allows small farms to be preserved. A newly renovated passive house in State College promotes sustainability, energy efficiency and affordability. We also hear about the movement among churches in Pennsylvania to help solve the climate crisis. Plus, we have advice on how to reduce carbon emissions at home. We also have news about a wildfire in the Allegheny National Forest, a liquified natural gas export facility and polluting lawn equipment.


Episode for November 3, 2023

U.S. Steel unveiled two battery-powered locomotives it will use at its plants outside of Pittsburgh. It’s a small step to reduce the carbon footprint of one of the top greenhouse gas polluters in Pa. We’ll also hear about the legacy of the first lawsuit against the makers of the weedkiller Roundup, alleging it caused cancer, and why toxic pesticides are still on the market. Plus, what the auto workers’ strike and tentative agreement with American carmakers have to do with the transition to electric vehicles. News about a voluntary agreement between gas driller CNX and DEP to monitor air and other measures, a canceled offshore wind project, and a court decision that prohibits Pennsylvania from joining a carbon trading program to reduce power plant emissions.


Episode for October27, 2023

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is looking to educate the public about the problems invasive plants cause to local ecosystems and why using native species in gardens and yards is so important. We talk with Fernando Treviño, DEP's head of environmental justice, who says he wants impacted communities to have "a real voice and [be] part of the process from the beginning." Plus, we talk with Sandra Steingraber, lead author on the latest edition of a compendium of peer-reviewed scientific literature and other reports that show health risks associated with fracking. We have news about new federal money to make the electric grid climate-ready, state money to convert lawns to meadows, and an agricultural fair for kids in Allentown.


Episode for October 20, 2023

Insurance premiums could rise as more severe storms cause downed trees and dump water on Pennsylvania. We’ll also hear about a series of public meetings to learn about the health impacts of the February train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. Plus, we take a closer at the news that Pa. will get parts of two federally-backed hydrogen hubs. We have news about federal funds for improving the tree canopy in the Pittsburgh area, capping off old oil and gas wells and supporting green manufacturing. Plus, a new solar project is coming to a Pittsburgh neighborhood amid news that Pa. is among the worst for renewable energy development.


Episode for October 13, 2023

Eight months after the train derailment and toxic chemical spill, some residents of East Palestine are still living away from home because they fear for their health. We'll also hear how deer are grazing on young trees and native plants in Pittsburgh's parks. Plus, tiny freshwater jellyfish have been living in the Great Lakes for a century. So why don't we know more about them? We have news about the selection of two hydrogen hubs for Pennsylvania, an injection well in Fayette County, a new hellbender license plate and more.


Episode for October 6, 2023

A group of doctors at UPMC pushed the Pittsburgh hospital system to do things like reduce waste and switch chemicals. Now the effort is gaining momentum. We’ll also talk with climatologist Michael E. Mann about his new book that looks back millions of years into Earth’s history to help us survive the climate crisis. Plus, environmentalists trawl local waterways in search of little plastic pellets that could harm wildlife. We have news about a potential lawsuit over plastic pollution in the Ohio River, EPA’s rejection of parts of U.S. Steel’s air quality permit for the Clairton Coke Works, and climate activists in Harrisburg.