SOCIAL JUSTICE: Jail autopsies ordered
Allegheny County has been ordered to release the autopsy report of a man who died in jail following nearly three years of legal wrangling with a local reporter.
Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court determined in a 6-1 vote last week that the county had unlawfully denied Brittany Hailer access to the report and that the Court of Common Pleas had incorrectly ruled in the county's favor following an appeal in December 2021.
Hailer, director of the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, first sought the record in late 2020, when she learned of Daniel Pastorek’s death in the Allegheny County Jail and was unable to determine the circumstances surrounding it. Hailler filed a public records request, which was granted by the state’s Office of Open Records, but which county officials then appealed in the Court of Common Pleas.
A county spokesperson last week told Pittsburgh City Paper that officials were still deciding whether to launch a further appeal.
ENVIRONMENT: Coke Works fined
U.S Steel’s Clairton Coke Works has again been fined by the Allegheny County Health Department for violating the conditions of its operating permit.
An enforcement order issued July 11 calls on the steel giant to cough up $301,275 for nearly 500 non-compliant inspections the department claims were logged between July and September of 2022.
The Clairton facility produces nearly 5 million tons of coal each year, making it one of Allegheny County's most potent polluters. The steel conglomerate and the health department have repeatedly fought over the details of regulation and enforcement provisions.
Six-figure fines similar to last week’s were also levied against the coke plant during the previous two quarters.
A spokesperson for U.S. Steel told City Paper the company disputes the health department’s methods and will appeal the order.