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Environment


Cleveland NAACP isn't ready to shut down coal plant
Cleveland NAACP does not agree with the national NAACP's call to shut down 90 plants with low scores in its report on coal plants
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA
and VALERIE BROWN


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
In The Region:

The Cleveland NAACP is not ready to shut down the Lake Shore Power Plant. That statement comes after the national NAACP released a report calling the plant the sixth most harmful in the country to people of color. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia has more on why the national organization – as well the local one -- say closing the plant is just one option...

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The national NAACP gave FirstEnergy's coal-fired plant in East Cleveland an "F" rating based on emissions and demographic factors. The report calls it an "environmental justice score."  The NAACP says most people within three miles of the plant are African-American.  And that makes health problems caused by plant emissions a civil rights issue.
Though the report itself says -- quote -- "we must shut down these polluting life-compromising coal plants," NAACP spokeswoman Jacqueline Patterson says her group does not mean to sound that absolute.

“(PATTERSON)…Certainly one of the options is to close the plant.  Another option is to convert the plant to a cleaner form of energy; another option is reduce their production or to put in pollution controls.  I mean, there’s a range of different things the plants are doing…”

Patterson was in Cleveland late last week for a meeting with residents and local NAACP leaders on what to do about Lake Shore.

“(PATTERSON)…The tack that they wanted to take as the Cleveland branch was to work with FirstEnergy , talk through the concerns that they have and talk about how FirstEnergy can ensure that they are emitting the least amount of pollution…”

The report estimates that closing all 90 plants in the U.S. that it failed would reduce power production by only 9.2 percent.  But Cleveland NAACP Executive Director Stanley Miller says closure is -- quote -- a "knee jerk reaction."

“(MILLER)…We should sit down and talk about where we are, what the issues are, and try and find a way that we can fix these concerns, versus closing a plant that’s going to impact our service levels, and also displace the workers, and that’s a concern today…”

First Energy spokesman Mark Durbin says the report is based on old data. He says First Energy has reduced emissions by 40 percent since the data was collected from 2005 through 2008. He adds that the plant is active only during the hottest and coldest times of the year when energy demand is highest.

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