Idling Idled, But Bill Not Ideal | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Idling Idled, But Bill Not Ideal

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Buses, trucks and trains can no longer idly spew exhaust into Allegheny County's air, according to an ordinance passed by county council Aug. 19 (see News Briefs: "Idle Fight Exhausting," July 16). There are exceptions -- if it's extremely hot or cold outside, if the vehicle is undergoing maintenance, or if its engine is powering some piece of equipment. But the biggest loophole may be a provision that orders the county Board of Health to define the exceptions.

The appointed board has traditionally refused to do anything the elected council says, arguing that it is an independent entity with the power to make rules affecting residents' health. Councilor Rich Fitzgerald, who sponsored the anti-idling bill, and Health Director Bruce Dixon have said that their turf battle may eventually be decided in court.

So the anti-idling ordinance may, in effect, sit idle until that court fight occurs.

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