An NAACP report, “Coal Blooded, Putting Profits Over People,” released Friday, lists an Indiana coal-fired power plant as a top-five “environmental justice” offender. The State Line Energy electric generating plant in Hammond, above, was rated as the fifth-worst in the nation. That plant is nearly 150 miles from Fort Wayne, but state and local NAACP officials say its effect reaches beyond northwest Indiana and should concern all Hoosiers, regardless of race. The NAACP report said the power plants are inadequately regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and that their harmful effects are borne disproportionately by people of color and lower incomes. Two of the top three worst offending plants are in Chicago.
The NAACP report, analyzed emissions and demographic factors such as race, income and population density. Those calculations became “environmental justice scores” for America’s 431 coal-fired power plants. In Indiana, in addition to the Hammond plant’s top-five ranking, Duke Energy’s R. Gallagher Generating Station in New Albany ranked seventh and a plant in Michigan City also received a failing grade, according to the report.
The company in May told the Chicago Tribune it plans to close the aging State Line as early as next year and no later than 2014, rather than spend millions to bring it in line with more stringent pollution limits.
Analyzing plants' emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides and demographic factors of where the plants are located, the NAACP said "environmental justice scores" were given for each of the nation's 431 coal-fired power plants. The State Line electric generating plant was rated as the fifth-worst in the nation and the Michigan City Generating Station also received a failing grade.
The ‘Top Twelve EJ Offenders’ Nationwide
Out of the 431 coal-fired power plants that the report examined in this study, the following twelve had the worst environmental justice scores:
1. Crawford Gen. Station, Chicago, IL (Edison International)
2. Hudson Gen. Station, Jersey City, NJ (PSEG)
3. Fisk Gen. Station, Chicago, IL (Edison International)
4. Valley Power Plant, Milwaukee, WI (Wisconsin Energy)
5. State Line Plant, Hammond, IN (Dominion)
6. Lake Shore Plant, Cleveland, OH (FirstEnergy)
7. R. Gallagher Gen. Station, New Albany, IN (Duke Energy)
8. Bridgeport Station, Bridgeport, CT (PSEG)
9. River Rouge Plant, River Rouge, MI (DTE Energy)
10. Cherokee Station, Commerce City, CO (Xcel Energy)
11. Four Corners Plant, Niinahnízaad, NM (Arizona Public Service Co.)
12. Waukegan Gen. Station, Waukegan, IL (Edison International)
Jacqui Patterson, who coodinated the publication of the report, is director of the NAACP's Environmental and Climate Justice Department. (NWI Times, 7/14/2011, Journal Gazette, 7/16/2011, photo courtesy NWI Times)