For the past year, a team of Tennessee State University students and I have been investigating the air quality in and around the Cayce Place community as participants in an Environmental Protection Agency research project.
Low-income and minority communities such as Cayce Place are often the hardest hit by the effects of air pollution and climate change.
The EPA’s new Clean Power Plan will, for the first time ever, limit power plant releases of carbon dioxide, particulate matter and related pollutants such as ozone.
Forty percent of the U.S. population living near power plants are people of color — so the plan will greatly benefit these communities. It will reduce incidences of asthma and other pollution-related illnesses, as well as create thousands of new jobs and save families money on utility and medical bills.
Yet, despite findings from several independent organizations showing how the Clean Power Plan will benefit low-income and minority communities, the National Black Chamber of Commerce released a report earlier this year misrepresenting its impacts. The report, funded by special interest groups seeking to preserve the bottom line for fossil fuel companies, alleges — wrongly — that the plan will harm African- American and Hispanic families.
By spreading misinformation, the National Black Chamber of Commerce is risking the health of thousands of children of color in Tennessee and across the country.