Last week’s Pittsburgh news, today #8: clear complicit danger

For people who don't read the news everyday, but would still like to know what's going on.

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No testing for forever chemicals. Oliver Morrison reports that, despite longstanding knowledge that PFAS and so-called “forever chemicals” have been dumped at Pittsburgh International Airport property for decades, nearby soil and drinking water has never been tested for contamination, because it isn’t mandated by law.

UPMC “in danger of complicity.” Some 1200 employees and 600 Pitt students and faculty signed a letter urging the healthcare leviathan to use its might to stand up for reproductive rights. UPMC had stated its commitment to providing “the full continuum of women’s health services in accordance with all applicable laws,” WESA reports, while also saying “How those laws evolve will ultimately be decided by voters and the courts.”

New parks and rec: PA is on the cusp of 3 new state parks. The AP reports the money is in the budget; we just don’t know where they will be yet. There is also a push to declare Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area a national park, as Colin Deppen reports. 

No Turnpike bridge tolls. Gazette 2.0 reports on a judge’s ruling that “Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has no authority to toll nine bridges across the state, including the I-79 bridge in Bridgeville.”

Pittsburgh’s unhomed population rises. The percentage of those without homes in Pittsburgh rose 21%, reports WPXI.

EPA has Bitcoin questions. The EPA is asking questions about a Clearfield County natural gas company, which had “installed 30 natural gas powered generators and a gas-producing unit at a site without authorization from the department.” RELATED: from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: How Bitcoin makes burning fossil fuels more profitable than ever.

No facial recognition at CMU: Carnegie Mellon has decided not to pursue a draft policy which would have implemented facial recognition on campus, and said they’ve never used it. The legislation calls to mind a quote on the homepage of CMU’s CyLab’s Biometrics Center:  “A world that uses facial recognition does not look like Hollywood’s Minority Report. It looks like a smarter, more pleasant experience interacting with complex computer security systems to help make a safer world for our friends, our families and our children.” 😬

A shrine to Shell. We still don’t know when exactly it will open, but the enormous Shell plastics factory in Beaver County is nearly operational. Anya Litvak talks to union leaders and more, including Patty Horvatich, vice president of business investment at the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, who keeps a “shrine” – her words –  to Shell in her office:  “I have a 3D model of the plant. I have products made from polyethylene. I have T-shirts that say, ‘I support the project.’ I have signs. I have a framed picture of the silos passing Downtown.”