Quantcast

Putting Profits Before People—NAACP Exposes Impact of Coal-Fired Power Plants on Low Income Communities

Climate

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Coal Blooded: Putting Profits Before People is a new report analyzing sulfur dioxide (SO2) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions in conjunction with demographic factors—race, income and population density—to rank the environmental justice performance of the nation’s 378 coal fired power plants. Photo courtesy of NAACP

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and its allies released a report yesterday Coal Blooded: Putting Profits before People, which documents the health, economic and environmental impacts of coal pollution on those who can least afford it–low income communities and communities of color.
 
Coal Blooded ranks 378 coal-fired power plants in the nation based on their Environmental Justice Performance. The score is based on both toxic emissions and demographic factors–including race, income and population density. The six million Americans living near coal plants have an average income of $18,400, compared with $21,857 nationwide and 39 percent are people of color.
 
“Coal pollution is literally killing low-income communities and communities of color,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “There is no disputing the urgency of this issue. Environmental justice is a civil and human rights issue when our children are getting sick, our grandparents are dying early, and mothers and fathers are missing work.”
 
In addition to the rankings, Coal Blooded lays out a framework for individuals, organizations and policymakers to make a just transition from coal to other energy sources. The recent closure of two coal-fired power plants in Chicago is used as a case study. The report also ranks coal power companies on their Environmental Justice Performance.
 
“We are committed to preserving the livelihood of our communities, our country and our climate,” stated Jacqueline Patterson, NAACP director of Climate Justice Programs. “Old, dirty coal plants are poisoning our environment, and emissions controls are simply not sufficient. We need to transition from coal and replace plants with profitable energy efficiency initiatives and clean energy alternatives.”
 
“This report will help put a human face on the life and death issue of coal pollution,” stated Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Clean coal is an oxymoron. Toxic emissions are harmful to people living nearby coal plants, and also contribute to the devastating effects of climate change.”
 
Coal Blooded is a chance to show the world how dirty these plants are, and to highlight the impact they have on our communities,” stated Kimberly Wasserman, executive director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, who was instrumental in the shutdown of Fisk and Crawford Generating Stations in Chicago. “It is exciting to see people come together and speak up on this important issue.”
 
Pollutants emitted by coal plants have been linked to asthma attacks, lung inflammation, chronic bronchitis, irregular heart conditions and birth defects. According to the Clean Air Task Force, coal pollution is estimated to cause 13,200 premature deaths and 9,700 hospitalizations per year across the U.S.
 
Coal plants are also the number one contributor to carbon dioxide, the leading driver of climate change, which is already impacting communities around the country and around the world.

Visit EcoWatch’s COAL page for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Protesters march during a "Friday for future" youth demonstration in a street of Davos on Jan. 24 on the sideline of the World Economic Forum annual meeting. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Youth climate activists marched through the streets of Davos, Switzerland Friday as the World Economic Forum wrapped up in a Fridays for Future demonstration underscoring their demand that the global elite act swiftly to tackle the climate emergency.

Read More
chuchart duangdaw / Moment / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

The year is less than four weeks old, but scientists already know that carbon dioxide emissions will continue to head upwards — as they have every year since measurements began leading to a continuation of the Earth's rising heat.

Read More
Sponsored
Lucy Lambriex / DigitalVision / Getty Images

By Katey Davidson

Each year, an estimated 600 million people worldwide experience a foodborne illness.

While there are many causes, a major and preventable one is cross-contamination.

Read More
picture alliance / dpa / F. Rumpenhorst

By Arthur Sullivan

When was the last time you traveled by plane? Various researchers say as little as between 5 and 10 percent of the global population fly in a given year.

Read More
A Starbucks barista prepares a drink at a Starbucks Coffee Shop location in New York. Ramin Talaie / Corbis via Getty Images

By Cathy Cassata

Are you getting your fill of Starbucks' new Almondmilk Honey Flat White, Oatmilk Honey Latte, and Coconutmilk Latte, but wondering just how healthy they are?

Read More