Minority and First Nation communities are where most asthma-may-effect-black-teens-more-than-the-whites1coal plants can be found. The NAACP’s report, Coal Blooded, reveals the damage done to these communities, and explains why so many coal pants are located where African Americans and other minorities make their homes, raise their children, work, play, and pray.
No Protection from Coal Ash Waste
In December of this year, after many years and legal filings, the EPA will issue regulations concerning the handling and storage of coal ash waste. The waste, whether stored in coal ash ponds or in landfills, is filled with heavy metals which cause birth defects, cancer, and numerous chronic health problems. Currently there are no guidelines on how this toxic waste must be stored in order to best protect the health of water resources, air, and the health of families, farm animals, and wildlife.
The Sierra Club has a map that will show you were coal plants and their dangerous wastes are located.
Plant Washington and Water
Plant Washington will draw use up to 16 Million gallons for fresh water every day. When there is sufficient flow, the plant will pipe water from the Oconee river approximately 27 miles fro the western side of Washington County to be used on the eastern side of the county. After running it through the plant, a scant 11 percent will be returned to the river.
When there isn’t enough water in the Oconee, Plant Washington will reply on fresh ground water drawn from 15 wells drilled near the plant. This will create stress on the aquifer that families, farmers, outdoor sportsmen, and wildlife rely on every day. The small percentage of water not soaked up during the coal burring process will also be returned to the Oconee River, therefore none of the water drawn from the wells will be returned to the area.
The toxins emitted from coal plants does more than pollute the air; those toxins also settle on land where is makes its way to rivers via run-off, or by falling directly onto rivers and lakes. Black River eco-systems, like the nearby Ogeechee, are especially susceptible to damage from coal plant emissions.
Currently, with no Plant Washington emissions, the mercury levels in the Ogeechee are so high that the state of Georgia advises women of childbearing age and small children to not consume any fish caught in the river.
Water, Air, and Health Resources
- Power Failure report issued by the Union of Concerned Scientists
- Georgia’s Worse Water Offenders: The Dirty Dozen
- The Impacts of Coal Power on Water, Union of Concerned Scientists
- Air Pollution in Infant Death (PDF)