A First Not To Be Proud Of

MaKara Rumley, GreenLaw Enviromental Justice AttorneyGeorgia Tops Ranking of Dirtiest Coal Plants in the Nation

Georgia is first in the country.  Not in education, or job growth, or the health of its citizens.  This week Georgia was given the dubious honor of housing the nation’s dirtiest coal-fired plant – none other than our neighbor to the north, Plant Scherer.

This is from a new report by Environment Georgia that ranks the dirtiest power plants in the U.S. based on data from the Department of Energy. 
In 2012, over 30% of the electricity generated in Georgia came from facilities that burned coal, and another facility is slated to be built in Washington County.  Do we really want this to be the legacy of our state: home to the dirtiest power plants?  What a shame.
Burning coal to generate electricity is the largest source of carbon emissions in the U.S.  Burning coal produces greenhouse gases emissions which lead to global temperature increase, extreme weather and hazardous health conditions.
Greenhouse gases are a significant contributor to catastrophic climate change events such as hurricanes Sandy and Katrina.  Minority and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by these events because they are already barely scraping by.  When catastrophe hits, these citizens have a much harder time bouncing back to stability.
To put our pollution into perspective, Georgia’s carbon emissions are greater than the emissions of many countries.  Based on 2007 records, if Georgia were a nation, it would rank 26th in the world for CO2 emissions.
This is environmental injustice, folks. It is time for us to stand up for our neighbors, our children and ourselves.  Let’s be honest and admit that Plant Scherer and the other coal-fired power plants in our state are hurting us much more than they are helping us.
These plants are a menace to our public health and our environment.  We need to stop ignoring the 800 pound gorilla and stand up for our children’s right to breathe clean air. 
I look forward to the day when seeing Georgia at the top of the “Dirtiest Coal Plants” list is just a bad memory.  That is a day I will be proud of.

Read Original Article Posting on SoutheastGreen.com
The top five individual plants were:

  1. Georgia Power Company's Plant Scherer
  2. Alabama Power Company's James H. Miller Jr. Plant
  3. Luminant Generation Company's Martin Lake Plant in Texas
  4. Union Electric Company's Labadie Plant in Missouri
  5. NRG Texas Power's W.A. Parish Plant

Power Plant Report: “America’s Dirtiest Power Plants”, released Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013 by Environment America Georgia & Policy Center.

Health Report: “Coal’s Assault on Human Health”. 2009. Physicians for Social Responsibility.