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

Aerial assessment of Hurricane Sandy damage in Connecticut. Dannel Malloy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Extreme weather events supercharged by climate change in 2012 led to nearly 1,000 more deaths, more than 20,000 additional hospitalizations, and cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion, a new report finds.

Read More Show Less
Giant sequoia trees at Sequoia National Park, California. lucky-photographer / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A Bay Area conservation group struck a deal to buy and to protect the world's largest remaining privately owned sequoia forest for $15.6 million. Now it needs to raise the money, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
This aerial view shows the Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium, one of the venues for 2019 Rugby World Cup. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP / Getty Images

The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.

Read More Show Less
Vera_Petrunina / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Wudan Yan

In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."

Read More Show Less
Volunteer caucasian woman giving grain to starving African children. Bartosz Hadyniak / E+ / Getty Images

By Frances Moore Lappé

Food will be scarce, expensive and less nutritious," CNN warns us in its coverage of the UN's new "Climate Change and Land" report. The New York Times announces that "Climate Change Threatens the World's Food Supply."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
British Airways 757. Jon Osborne / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Adam Vaughan

Two-thirds of people in the UK think the amount people fly should be reined in to tackle climate change, polling has found.

Read More Show Less
Climate Week NYC

On Monday, Sept. 23, the Climate Group will kick off its 11th annual Climate Week NYC, a chance for governments, non-profits, businesses, communities and individuals to share possible solutions to the climate crisis while world leaders gather in the city for the UN Climate Action Summit.

Read More Show Less

By Pam Radtke Russell in New Orleans

Local TV weather forecasters have become foot soldiers in the war against climate misinformation. Over the past decade, a growing number of meteorologists and weathercasters have begun addressing the climate crisis either as part of their weather forecasts, or in separate, independent news reports to help their viewers understand what is happening and why it is important.

Read More Show Less