• Please join us for the CAB Community Meeting, usually held on the first Thursday of every month at 7:00PM. Please check Posts for speaker information, time, and location.

    Community meetings are generally held at Second Presbyterian Church, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle, PA

  • Photos

Wildfires Leave Sky Full of Soot

California Fires Leave 32 Dead, a Vast Landscape Charred, and a Sky Full of Soot

NY Times, Oct. 12, 2017

SONOMA, Calif. — Some of the worst wildfires ever to tear through California have killed 32 people and torched a vast area of the state’s north this week, but the reach of the blazes is spreading dramatically further by the day, as thick plumes of smoke blow through population centers across the Bay Area. . . .  Air-quality, based on levels of tiny particles that can flow deep into the lungs, is rated “unhealthy” across much of Northern California, and smoke has traveled as far as Fresno, more than 200 miles to the south.   Read more

EPA Air Quality Information for Napa, Oct. 13, 2017:




Current Conditions  Oct. 13, 2017
Air Quality Index (AQI)
observed at 17:00 PDT
 393    Hazardous
Health Message: People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low. Everyone else should avoid all physical activity outdoors.
Note: Values above 500 are considered Beyond the AQI. Follow recommendations for the Hazardous category. Additional information on reducing exposure to extremely high levels of particle pollution is available here.

CAB Community Meeting, Nov. 3, 7 pm

“The Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission report”
Join us as we host three members of the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission. They will discuss the findings and recommendations of the Citizens Commission.
The panelists are: Olivia Thorne, president of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania; Thomas Au, Conservation Chair of Pennsylvania Chapter of Sierra Club.

The presentation will be held at the Second Presbyterian Church, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle, PA 17013

View and download the full report  http://citizensmarcellusshale.com/

View WGAL-TV’s news report on the report. http://www.wgal.com/video/29571076/detail.html

Particulate Air Pollution Affects Heart, Research Finds: Science Daily

Particulate Air Pollution Affects Heart, Research Finds

ScienceDaily (May 20, 2010) — Breathing polluted air increases stress on the heart’s regulation capacity, up to six hours after inhalation of combustion-related small particles called PM2.5, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Stress on the heart from exposure to high levels of PM2.5 may contribute to cardiovascular disease, said Duanping Liao, professor of public health sciences.

The body’s ability to properly regulate heartbeat so the heart can pump the appropriate amounts of blood into the circulation system relies on the stability of the heart’s electrical activity, called electrophysiology.

“Air pollution is associated with cardiopulmonary mortality and morbidity, and it is generally accepted that impaired heart electrophysiology is one of the underlying mechanisms,” said Fan He, master’s program graduate, Department of Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine. “This impairment is exhibited through fluctuations in the heart rate from beat to beat over an established period of time, known as heart rate variability. It is also exhibited through a longer period for the electric activity to return to the baseline, known as ventricular repolarization.

“The time course, how long it would take from exposure to cardiac response, has not been systematically investigated,” said He. “We conducted this study to investigate the relationship between particle matter and heart electrophysiology impairment, especially the time course.”

The researchers published their results in recent issues of the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology and in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Liao’s team of researchers studied 106 people from central Pennsylvania, mostly in the Harrisburg metropolitan area. Nonsmokers over the age of 45 without severe cardiac problems wore air-quality and heart-rate monitors for 24 hours. The devices recorded data in one-minute intervals.

Results indicate that heart electrophysiology was affected up to six hours after elevated PM2.5 exposure. These adverse effects may trigger the onset of acute cardiac events and over time may result in increased risk of chronic heart disease.

PM2.5 refers to particles up to 2.5 micrometers in size. Their primary sources are diesel engine and coal combustion outdoors; and oil, gas or wood combustion for cooking and heating indoors. PM2.5 levels are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Restricting PM2.5: A Sure Way to Improve America’s Health: Tami Biddle, CAB

Restricting PM2.5: A Sure Way to Improve America’s Health (952 KB)

by Tami Biddle

Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania

October 2008

Comments On DEP’s Proposed “Diesel Vehicle Idling; and Auxiliary Power Systems” Rule: Clean Air Council

Comments On DEP’s Proposed “Diesel Vehicle Idling; and Auxiliary Power Systems” Rule

Clean Air Council

January 12, 2008

38 Pa.B. 229

My name is Eric Cheung and I am the Senior Attorney for the Clean Air Council, a non-profit environmental group whose mission is to protect everyone’s right to breathe clean, healthful air. In order to fulfill this mission the Council works on a core set of diverse programs: air pollution, sustainable transportation, renewable energy, waste and recycling, indoor air quality and children’s environmental health. The Council represents the interests of over 7,000 members across Pennsylvania and Delaware, who provide financial support.

Clean Air Council supports PADEP’s proposed statewide anti-idling rule for diesel engines. When evaluating strategies to provide energy cleanly – whether for transportation or electric power – the Council places conservation at the top of its list. The cleanest unit of energy is the one that is not consumed. On the transportation side shutting off truck or bus engines when the vehicle has stopped should be as commonplace a practice as turning off the light switch when leaving a room. Stopping unnecessary idling reduces air pollution, saves individuals money, minimizes global warming gas emissions, and improves energy security.

Clean Air Council has long been aware of the impact of heavy duty vehicle diesel emissions on the health of Pennsylvania residents and has participated in initiatives to reduce them. From organizing clean diesel conferences, to advocating for the increased use of alternative fuels to diesel, to lobbying Philadelphia’s regional transit authority to replace its buses with hybrid electric models. Recently, the Council completed an Air Quality Assessment Report for the Carlisle Area, with a special emphasis on the impact of diesel emissions from truck traffic and recommendations for addressing this problem. It also spearheaded a campaign to encourage Pennsylvania school districts to voluntarily limit their school bus idling. Since 2003 the Council has been the co-administrator of the Philadelphia Diesel Difference Working Group, which has worked with local truck and bus fleets to retrofit their diesel engines with pollution control technologies. As an expert on the impact of diesel emissions and long-standing advocate for their reduction, the Council is excited to see PADEP announce this rule.

Petroleum-based diesel fuel is a significant source of both ozone-forming NOx compounds and harmful fine particulates. Among all highway vehicles, diesel-powered trucks and buses contribute 44% of the NOx and 75% of the fine particulates. Both of these pollutants cause harmful respiratory symptoms, trigger asthma attacks and can lead to premature deaths. Both are of particular concern to the 1.5 million school children in Pennsylvania who are transported to schools every day primarily by diesel-powered buses. Ozone and fine particulates have a disproportionately greater impact on children, because their lungs are still developing and they can breathe up to 50 percent more air per body weight than adults. Diesel exhaust is also known to contain toxic air contaminants – over 40 have been identified. Anti-idling will reduce the combustion of the diesel fuel that results in these harmful emissions.

Seven counties in PA are not in attainment of the current federal ozone health standards and 21 counties do not meet the standards for fine particulate. With stronger standards for both pollutants coming, Pennsylvania can expect to see more of its counties to be in non-attainment. While the 2006 ultra low sulfur requirement certainly has had an impact on fine particulate emissions, more significant reductions can only occur with changes to the engines themselves. Moreover, desulfurized fuel does nothing for NOx compounds that form ozone. Given that the federal health standards are becoming more and more stringent, Pennsylvania will need to use every regulatory tool it can devise to ensure the State achieves compliance. Failure to do so could lead to sanctions under the Clean Air Act such as loss of highway funding. Anti-idling is a relatively uncomplicated tool that will help the state reach compliance of the federal health standards.

With the rising costs of fuel, the Council believes there is an economic incentive to reduce unnecessary idling that will make acceptance of this rule easier. Quite frankly, many drivers and fleet owners are less concerned with the impact their vehicles are having on the environment than they are with the impact transportation costs are having on their bottom line. Much of the unneeded idling is a result of driver habit, apathy and misinformation. Moreover, new technologies like electrified truck stops and auxiliary portable units resolve the cabin comfort reasons for idling. A statewide anti-idling rule may be just the catalyst needed to get heavy duty vehicle operators to do what is in their best interest anyway. The Council recommends a strong education effort coinciding with the roll-out of this rule to ensure maximum support.

Another benefit to Pennsylvania’s anti-idling law will be the synergistic ones it produces. Neighboring states like Maryland, New Jersey and New York have their own anti-idling requirements. The two largest metropolitan areas in Pennsylvania, Allegheny County and Philadelphia, also have anti-idling rules. Once Pennsylvania’s law goes into effect, it can only reinforce the ones already in place. Conversely, having drivers already familiar with similar laws in neighboring areas, makes it easier for compliance in Pennsylvania. As each jurisdictional authority acts to cut back on unwanted idling, more and more drivers will get the message and will simply practice idling reduction as a matter of course, regardless of where they are.

Other benefits of the anti-idling rule include a reduction in greenhouse gases and foreign oil dependency. Each gallon of diesel that is burned produces 22 pounds of carbon dioxide, which contribute to global warming. Each gallon of petroleum diesel is most likely to have come from foreign oil sources like the Persian Gulf. Both the global environment and America’s energy security benefit as less diesel is burned as a result of this rule.

On a final note, the Council hopes that PADEP takes all the necessary steps to ensure enforcement of this rule. Philadelphia’s anti-idling ordinance has been in place for over 20 years and yet its effectiveness has been hampered due to a lack of enforcement resources. In order for this new rule to have an impact, it is essential that local enforcement agencies are educated about the rule and are willing to take on enforcement responsibilities. Furthermore, citizens should also be made aware of this rule and a number they can call to complain about idling should be established. The Council’s experience has been that governmental action can only be enhanced by community buy-in and support.

A rule that is better for the air and for people’s wallets seems like a no-brainer, so it is surprising that implementation of this rule would put Pennsylvania among a minority of states to pass such a requirement. It is not often that Pennsylvania is in a position to take a leading role among the states on an environmental initiative. This appears to be just such an opportunity and the Council hopes the State follows through.

Lastly, Clean Air Council would like to acknowledge and express gratitude for the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania’s efforts in pushing for this rule. In a short time this burgeoning organization has established itself as one of the State’s more influential air quality advocates.

Eric Cheung, Esq.

Comparison of PM2.5 Monitoring Sites along I-81 Corridor: DEP

Comparison of PM2.5 Monitoring Sites along I-81 Corridor (38 KB)

December 2007

Imperial Court Monitor: PA Department of Environmental Protection

Interview with Reverend Jennifer McKenna: October 2007

Interview with Reverend Jennifer McKenna

Conducted by Ellen Simon

October 2007


Jennifer McKenna, a reverend at the Second Presbyterian Church in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, organized the Clean Air Board in 2005. Motivated by medical consensus regarding the effects of Carlisle’s poor air quality, Rev. McKenna and members of the Clean Air Board have made significant accomplishments in lobbying for legislation of the air quality in Carlisle. In my interview with Rev. McKenna, we discuss the origins, projects and goals of the Clean Air Board. Truly a community effort, Rev. McKenna describes the Clean Air Board’s coalition with doctors, lawyers, professors and, most interestingly, the truck industry.