Summary Information
Title: Patricia Pelkofer Papers
Collection Number: AIS.1993.05
Creator: Pelkofer, Patricia, 1927-2003

Collection Dates: 1969-2003
Extent: 30.0 linear feet (25 boxes)

Language: English

Abstract:
Patricia Pelkofer was a prominent environmentalist in western Pennsylvania from the 1960s until her death in 2003. She was involved in a variety of environmental groups and committees during her lifetime, including as a founding member of the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), the Allegheny County Health Department’s Bureau of Air Pollution Control, and the Group for Recycling in Pennsylvania (GRIP), among others. This collection consists of Pelkofer’s materials, including meeting minutes, correspondence, legal materials, diagrams, schematic plans, and study data collected from meetings and publications, all related to local, state, and federal environmental organizations.
Publisher:

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
412-648-3232
archives-ref@mail.pitt.edu
Date Published:

March 2009
Author:

Finding aid prepared by Alesha Shumar, Shaun Hayes, Sean Kilcoyne and Evan Waters.
Revision Description:
December 2010:
Description of oversize material added to the finding aid.

Biography

Born in 1927, Patricia Pelkofer was an environmentalist active in western Pennsylvania. One of the founding members of the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), a grassroots environmental organization, Pelkofer worked specifically on environmental issues of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. She served on the board of directors and was the editor of the GASP monthly Hotline newsletter.

A Pittsburgh native and resident of the Oakland neighborhood, Pelkofer came to her volunteer service through her parents, who were volunteers at schools, churches, and political parties. Her dedication to service and environmental issues continued through her time at the University of Pittsburgh, where she was an education student and into her graduate studies at the Katz Graduate School of Business, from which she graduated in 1953. She was a dedicated member of many organizations as a student, especially those supporting women students such as the Alumnae Council.

By the 1960s, Pelkofer was active in a variety of environmental efforts in addition to GASP, including the Allegheny County Health Department’s Bureau of Air Pollution Control (BAPC). Her interest and dedication to informing the public of toxic waste and recycling issues led her to be appointed as a member of the state Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) from 1984 to 1996. She also held offices in the Pennsylvanians United to Rescue the Environment (PURE) and the Group for Recycling in Pennsylvania (GRIP), and was involved in the efforts of the Environmental Justice Work Group (EJWG) to offer a blueprint for achieving environmental justice in Pennsylvania. Through her environmental efforts, Pelkofer was instrumental in framing environmental policies and creating public interest for the issues she promoted. Pelkofer died in 2003 at the age of seventy-six.


Collection Scope and Content Notes

The papers in this collection relate to Patricia Pelkofer’s involvement in environmental issues as either an advisor, consultant, or activist. Though Pelkofer was broadly involved in environmental issues in western Pennsylvania, the collection documents the activities of organizations in which she was involved with or monitored for information.

Records in this collection come from a variety of state and local environmental groups and committees. These include the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), the Group for Recycling in Pennsylvania (GRIP), the Environmental Justice Work Group (EJWG), various committees associated with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (DER), and the Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC), among others. The records include meeting minutes, correspondence, legal materials, diagrams, schematic plans, and study data collected from meetings and publications, all related to local, state, and federal environmental organizations. There is also a small amount of personal correspondence to and from Pelkofer that details her feelings about the environmental groups and issues she was involved with. The records in the collection are arranged by the various environmental groups and committees in which Pelkofer was a member.


Arrangement

This collection is only arranged at the series level; there is no individual folder-level inventory for the collection at this time. Please contact the Archives Service Center for more information.

Series I. Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), 1970-1988

Series II. Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC), 1984-1996

Series III. Allegheny County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), 1988-2001

Series IV. Pennsylvanians United to Rescue the Environment (PURE), 1982-1991

Series V. Group for Recycling in Pennsylvania (GRIP), 1988-2001

Series VI. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (PADER), 1980-1995

Series VII. Allegheny County Health Department, (ACHD), 1994-2003

Series VIII. Environmental Justice Work Group (EJWG), 2000-2001

Series IX. Publications and Issues


Subject Terms

Topics
  • Environmental law -- Pennsylvania
  • Environmental policy -- Pennsylvania -- Citizen participation
  • Environmental policy -- Pennsylvania -- History -- 20th century
  • Environmentalism -- Pennsylvania
  • Environmentalists
  • Environmentalists -- Pennsylvania
  • Hazardous waste sites -- Pennsylvania
  • Natural resources -- Pennsylvania-- Management -- History -- 20th century
  • Refuse and refuse disposal -- Pennsylvania
  • Women environmentalists -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh

Corporate Names
  • Allegheny County (Pa.). Bureau of Air Pollution Control.
  • Allegheny County (Pa.). Local Emergency Planning Committee.
  • Allegheny County Environmental Coalition.
  • CHOKE (Organization).
  • Citizens Against Toxic Sites (Pa.).
  • Concerned Citizens of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
  • Concerned Citizens of the Yough (Pa.).
  • Environmental Justice Work Group (Pa.).
  • Environmental Law & Policy Center.
  • Environmental Resources Management (ERM) Group.
  • GASP (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • Group for Recycling in Pennsylvania.
  • Pennsylvania Alliance for Environmental Education.
  • Pennsylvania. Department of Environmental Protection.
  • Pennsylvania. Department of Environmental Resources.
  • Pennsylvanians United to Rescue the Environment.
  • Solid Waste Advisory Committee (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • Western Pennsylvania Citizens for Safe Commuinites.

Personal Names
  • Pelkofer, Patricia, 1927-2003

Locations
  • Allegheny County (Pa.)
  • Fayette County (Pa.)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh (Pa.)

Category
  • Environment
  • Women

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of Patricia Pelkfer in May 1993.

Accruals:

Additional material received in 1994, 2002, and in 2004 through her sister following Pelkofer’s death.

Preferred Citation:

Patricia Pelkofer Papers, 1969–2003, AIS.1993.05, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh.

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Alesha Shumar, Shaun Hayes, Sean Kilcoyne and Evan Waters in October 2008.

Copyright:

Property rights reside with the University of Pittsburgh. For information about permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Archives Services Center.

Related Material:

Group Against Smog and Pollution Records, 1971-1976, AIS.1979.21, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh.

Jeannette Widom Papers Relating to GASP (Group Against Smog and Pollution), 1970-1981, AIS.1994.10, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh.

Allegheny County Air Pollution Advisory Committee Records, 1959-1986, AIS.1992.03, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh.


Collection Inventory

Series I. GASP 1969-1990

Scope and Content Notes:

The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) was founded as a non-profit citizens' group in 1969 by a group of forty-three volunteers in southwestern Pennsylvania working for a "healthy, sustainable environment." Since the group’s founding, members have served on national, state, regional and local environmental advisory committees and have testified at over 500 hearings, meetings on regulatory, legislative issues involving air, water, noise, land use, pesticide control, and waste disposal and management. According to its mission statement, GASP "will act to obtain for the residents of western Pennsylvania clean air, water, and land in order to create the healthy, sustainable environment and quality of life to which we are all entitled." Pelkofer was one of the founding members of GASP and served as an officer and active member in the group. She resigned from the Board of Directors in 1988, but remained involved in the organization afterwards.

This series contains correspondence, legal materials, diagrams, schematic plans and study data for various projects and operations relating to GASP. Press releases and newsletters related to GASP activities are included as well. GASP was involved with the whole spectrum of environmental issues ranging from waste disposal to air quality, and the records in this series reflect GASP activities in response to specific events such as changes in environmental laws and the location or opening of environmentally damaging facilities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Boxes 01-04 GASP

Series II. Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) 1984-1996

Scope and Content Notes:

The Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) was organized by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (DER) as a result of the Solid Waste Management Act of 1980. The purpose of the committee was to look at the entire spectrum of waste management issues in Pennsylvania, ranging from hazardous waste to municipal and residential waste. Pelkofer was an active member of SWAC from 1984 to 1996, serving as chairperson from 1990 to 1992.

The materials in this series date from 1984 to 1996 and largely consist of drafts of municipal waste regulations drafted by SWAC and reviewed by Pelkofer. She was also involved with a public participation sub-committee within SWAC that helped develop guidelines for meaningful public participation in the process of citing hazardous waste facilities in Pennsylvania. Some of the materials in this series document the efforts of this sub-committee.

Box 05-12 SWAC

Series III. Allegheny County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) 1988-2001

Scope and Content Notes:

The Allegheny County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) was established by the Pennsylvania Board of Commissioners in 1987. The purpose of the LEPC is to respond to and mitigate the effects of toxic releases on the citizens of Allegheny County. The records in this series date from 1988 to 2001, the time period when Pelkofer was most involved with the committee. The materials in this subseries consist of budgets, meeting minutes, and other administrative records related to LEPC activities. Additionally, there are notes Pelkofer took at LEPC meetings and conferences.

Box 13-14 LEPC

Series IV. Pennsylvanians United to Rescue the Environment (PURE) 1982-1991

Scope and Content Notes:

PURE is a statewide coalition of approximately twenty grassroots citizen groups throughout Pennsylvania. PURE and its members are concerned with existing and proposed pollution from landfills or treatment of toxic wastes and clean drinking water. The group was formed in response to the lack of action and meaningful response to problems by state environmental groups, private industry, and health officials. In addition to testifying at public hearings and commenting on proposed regulations and legislation, PURE and its members conduct seminars and public meetings, serve on state committees, attend national conferences, run a speakers bureau for organizations in Pennsylvania, and produced a series of educational films.

Pelkofer served as secretary in PURE during its founding in 1982. The length of her duration in this position is unclear. The materials included in this series are meeting minutes, newsletters, agendas, correspondence, and committee publications. Newspaper articles featuring stories about PURE are included as well, as are bylaws created when the group was founded. The group was associated with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF); and similar records related to the EDF are in this series as well.

Box 15 PURE

Series V. Group for Recycling in Pennsylvania (GRIP) 1988-2001

Scope and Content Notes:

The Group for Recycling in Pennsylvania (GRIP) was founded in 1971 in response to the first Earth Day. Its mission is to promote recycling in order to encourage wise stewardship of natural resources and energy supplies. GRIP was a driving force behind the passage of Act 101 in 1988. Act 101 made recycling mandatory and instituted many curbside recycling programs. In 1994, GRIP merged with the Pennsylvania Resource Council (PRC). The records in this series date from 1988 to 2001. Pelkofer was a member of the GRIP board of directors, but does not seem to have been involved with the PRC in a similar capacity.

The materials in this series consist of various pamphlets and newsletters produced by GRIP, as well as correspondence related to group activities. There are also materials related to the activities of the PRC, including meeting notices and minutes. Additionally, there are records related to the founding of Construction Junction, a recycled materials store opened in Pittsburgh by the PRC in 1994.

Box 16 GRIP

Series VI. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (DER) 1980-1995

Scope and Content Notes:

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (DER) was created in 1970. The role of the organization was to manage the environmental resources of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 1995, the DER was split into two state agencies, resulting in the creation of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

Materials in this series date from 1980 to 1995. They include publications on a variety of environmental issues, including radon and wetland preservation. Meeting minutes and correspondence related to the Southwest Regional Roundtable (SWRR) and the Environmental Quality Board (EQB), organizations that were a part of the DER that Pelkofer was involved with, are included as well.

Box 17-18 DER

Series VII. Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) 1994-2003

Scope and Content Notes:

The Allegheny County Health Department ensures “quality public health services by promoting individual and community wellness, preventing injury, illness and premature death or disability, and protecting the population from harmful effects of chemical, biological and physical hazards within the environment.” Under the aegis of this department, the Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee recommends adjustments to policies concerning the management of air quality in Allegheny County, as well as a general consultant for air pollution issues.

The series contains materials spanning Pelkofer’s tenure as committee member from 1994 to 2003, as well as her involvement in other sub-committees including the Bureau of Air Pollution Control and Air Policy Program. The series documents nearly two decades of involvement with the Allegheny County Health Department representing GASP and other environmental interests spanning 1980 to 2000’s, including meeting minutes, research, reports, notes, bulletins, and commentary on ACHD regulations.

Box 19-21 ACHD

Series VIII. Environmental Justice Work Group (EJWG) 2000-2001

Scope and Content Notes:

The Environmental Justice Work Group (EJWG) was started by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in 2000 in order to offer a blueprint for achieving environmental justice in Pennsylvania. Specifically, the group sought to insure that poor and minority communities were not harmed by dangerous environmental practices. Pelkofer was a member of this group from 2000 to 2001.

The materials in this series consist of drafts of the final report on environmental justice issued by the EJWG. Additionally, there is e-mail correspondence discussing changes to the wording of the report and other concerns by group members. Meeting notices, agendas, and minutes are included. Personal correspondence from Pelkofer relating her feelings about the EJWG in the form of personal correspondence are also in the series.

Box 22 EJWG

Series IX. Publications and Issues

Scope and Content Notes:

Supplementary to her environmental work in western Pennsylvania, Pelkofer provided a framework for her views on numerous public policy and environmental issues. The issues represented a range of interests from grassroots organizations to government sub-committees. This series contains publication materials including the primary environmental issues that shaped her career. The material highlights Pelkofer's main environmental interests in air, water, waste pollution, and recycling. The reference materials in this series include state and environmental organization publications, scientific studies, and environmental legislation.

Box 23-25 Pulications and Issues

Series X. Oversize Posters

Scope and Content Notes:

This material was added to the Finding Aid in December 2010.


Map-case 4
Drawer 10 Environmental posters (16 items)