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

Artist's conception of solar islands in the open ocean. PNAS

Millions of solar panels clustered together to form an island could convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, which can fuel airplanes and trucks, according to new research from Norway and Switzerland and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS, as NBC News reported. The floating islands could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

Read More Show Less
Marcos Alves / Moment Open / Getty Images

More than 40 percent of insects could go extinct globally in the next few decades. So why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week ok the 'emergency' use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres?

EcoWatch teamed up with Center for Biological Diversity via EcoWatch Live on Facebook to find out why. Environmental Health Director and Senior Attorney Lori Ann Burd explained how there is a loophole in the The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act under section 18, "that allows for entities and states to request emergency exemptions to spraying pesticides where they otherwise wouldn't be allowed to spray."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials

Simple swaps that cut down on kitchen trash.

Sponsored

By Kayla Robbins

Along with the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most daunting areas to try and make zero waste.

Read More Show Less
View of downtown Miami, Florida from Hobie Island on Feb. 2, 2019. Michael Muraz / Flickr

The Democratic candidates for president descended upon Miami for a two-night debate on Wednesday and Thursday. Any candidate hoping to carry the state will have to make the climate crisis central to their campaign, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
A pumpjack in the Permian Basin. blake.thornberry / Flickr

By Sharon Kelly

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal featured a profile of Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, whose company is known among investors for its emphasis on drawing oil and gas from the Permian basin in Texas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Craig K. Chandler

The federal government has available to it, should it choose to use them, a wide range of potential climate change management tools, going well beyond the traditional pollution control regulatory options. And, in some cases (not all), without new legislative authorization.

Read More Show Less
Denis Poroy / Getty Images

By Dan Gray

Processed foods, in their many delicious forms, are an American favorite.

But new research shows that despite increasing evidence on just how unhealthy processed foods are, Americans have continued to eat the products at the same rate.

Read More Show Less

By Sarah Steffen

With a profound understanding of their environmental surroundings, indigenous communities around the world are often cited as being pivotal to tackling climate change.

Read More Show Less