Berks County Gets Failing Air-Quality Grade

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Berks County has again flunked an air-quality test because of smog levels, but progress is being made, according to the American Lung Association.

In a “State of the Air 2013″ report released Tuesday, the association gave Berks an F for smog, even after nearly halving the 23 days with unhealthy smog levels that earned it an F in last year’s report.

The 2013 report is a compilation of air monitoring data collected between 2009 and 2011, exempting 2012 because work on the report began before the year’s end.  It shows that during that period, Berks had a dozen days with smog levels that were unhealthy for sensitive populations, including those with asthma or cardiovascular disease.

“So that’s practically cutting that in half, which is excellent,” said Kevin M. Stewart, director of environmental health for the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic.  “At the same time, it’s kind of like, ‘Mom, I got a better F.’  It’s not the kind of news you want to bring home, but it is progress.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=471818

Berks County Takes No Delight In Exide Workers’ Plight

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In two years, the Berks County commissioners have positioned themselves squarely against Exide Technologies lead smelting plant in Laureldale.

But a day after Exide announced plans to idle the plant and lay off 150 employees by March 31, the commissioners said Friday that they were not celebrating the news.

“We take no joy in the loss of jobs in Berks County,” Commissioner Mark C. Scott said, “but I don’t think we’re willing to trade public health for jobs.”

In the past two years, the county has appealed two separate permits issued to Exide.  According to the commissioners, the permits fell short of what is needed to comply with national air standards and do not require the company to continue operating a network of air monitors around the plant.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=426525