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Environmental Groups Hold Final Stop on Road to Clean Energy Tour | Environment

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Environmental Groups Hold Final Stop on Road to Clean Energy Tour
Environment, Events, News

From the Sierra Club:


ALEXANDRIA — On August 18th, the Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition held the final event of what has been dubbed the “Road to Clean Energy Tour,” inflating an 18-foot asthma inhaler at Orinoco Bay Park in Alexandria, near the GenOn-owned Potomac River Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, to draw attention to the health risks from air pollution emitted by the plant. The Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition, a coalition of organizations committed to a clean energy future for Virginia, highlighted recent air quality modeling data which showed areas of heavy pollution over Alexandria and portions of Washington, D.C. They called on D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray to take action to protect residents from the pollution produced by the plant. “We applaud Mayor Gray’s statements indicating his concern about the Potomac station’s effects on D.C. residents and we hope his office will take action soon. Our families can’t wait,” said Phillip Ellis, Sierra Club Field Organizer. Coalition members proposed a clear alternative to coal-fired plants like the GenOn coal plant, stating that investment in clean energy would provide an array of benefits, including pollution-free, affordable power for Virginia residents and a new economic engine for the region. They also touted the public health benefits of reducing our reliance on coal, especially in our nation’s capital. “The Washington D.C. metro area has extremely high rates of asthma, especially among children and the elderly,” said Ellis. “When you look at the modeling results, the evidence is clear—the  GenOn Potomac River Coal Plant is harming our communities.” Advocates pointed to a recent study by the American Clean Skies Foundation which showed that the GenOn coal plant was not a necessary component of the regional power grid. “The thing about the GenOn coal plant is that we don’t even need it—with energy efficiency measures, this plant does nothing but create energy we don’t use and spew pollution that hurts our kids,” added Robert Hull, a local resident who suffers from chronic bronchitis.  Speakers also urged the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the health of D.C. and Alexandria’s families and children by enacting strong air quality standards to reduce toxic air pollution. “In just a few weeks, we’re expecting the EPA to release new safeguards to help cut pollution. Everyone in America will benefit, but those of us who live near coal-fired plants like these should be particularly glad to see the EPA doing something to keep our most vulnerable residents—our children and our grandparents—safe from pollution,” said local resident Pat Stimets. Burning coal to generate electricity produces toxic pollutants like soot and smog, which aggravate asthma and contribute to four out of five leading causes of death. Asthma is of particular concern to Virginians, because it affects 279,000 adults and 96,000 children across the state.  
Environment, Events, News