Niger Innis

The Environmental Protection Agency insists that its recent air quality initiatives will protect minority and poor Americans from pollution that “disproportionately affects” their health and impairs “environmental justice.” The Affordable Power Alliance is not convinced.

We believe EPA needs to reexamine its entire air pollution regulatory program and carefully consider all aspects of health, welfare and justice, especially those it has failed to address thus far.

As a coalition of minority, civil rights, religious, elderly and small business groups, the APA strongly supports public health, pollution control and justice. However, we are deeply concerned that EPA’s proposed rules actually undermine those objectives, by impairing access to affordable, reliable energy – and thus people’s health and welfare.

EPA’s health claims about mercury, soot, ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants are speculative and based on selective literature searches, according to an extensive analysis by natural scientist Dr. Willie Soon (posted at www.AffordablePowerAlliance.org). The agency failed to consider studies that contradict its claims that poor and minority communities face serious, immediate health risks from power plant emissions, say Soon and scientists cited in his report.

These emissions have been declining for decades and are not related to asthma rates – which have been rising for reasons unrelated to outdoor air pollution, say air pollution consultant Joel Schwartz and other experts. Indeed, it defies logic to suppose that power plant emissions are causing increased asthma, if asthma rates are rising while pollution is declining. Rapid power plant emission reductions of the magnitude contemplated by EPA would thus not seem necessary.

Worse, EPA’s pollution rules will impair access to affordable electricity. They will force the closure of multiple power plants, send electricity prices soaring 12-60 percent, and severely impact business and family budgets, according to studies by Management Information Services (MIS), utility associations and other experts.

Especially in the 26 states that rely on coal for 48-98% of their electricity, EPA’s actions will raise family electricity costs by hundreds of dollars a year. They will increase factory, hospital, office, hotel, school, church, charity and other business electricity costs by thousands to millions of dollars annually.


Niger Innis

Niger Innis currently serves as the National Spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality.