According to the American Lung Association, Houston has one of the poorest air qualities in the nation. It’s no secret that Houston has refineries next door to neighborhoods along the ship channel. Within these communities, entire families live and their children go to school breathing air ridden with all kinds of pollutants. The ALA estimates there to be more than 96,000 children at risk for pediatric asthma, based on recent census data. Could this be because Harris County has such unhealthy air? The ALA gave Harris County an “F” grading, based on annual average ozone levels.
Businesses and refineries that emit pollutants in the Houston area have rarely stayed under the EPA limit, if at all. In neighboring Matagorda County the potential for air pollution emitted by the proposed White Stallion coal-fired power plant will make it harder still for Houston to achieve clean air. If this coal-fired power plant is allowed to become fully operational, the quality of air in Houston will have even more difficulty staying under federal limits.
In a health impact study conducted by MSB Energy Associates on the proposed White Stallion coal plant, emissions could add more than 400 cases of chronic bronchitis. This pollution may exacerbate the asthma of about 13,000 who already live with the condition. The most chilling effect is that there will be 630 deaths directly attributed to the pollutants emitted by this coal plant. This could be the death of a parent, a caretaker, or a child.
Another startling number to look at is the health care costs of such a plant. Although the plant will provide funding to Bay City’s schools, the total estimated cost of health care due to air pollutants is more than $5 billion! Already in hard times, we as Texans simply cannot afford a new coal plant.
Houstonians, please contact Mayor Parker and urge her to continue her support for clean air. Tell our mayor that we can’t afford a new coal plant, to say NO to White Stallion.
– Kat Herrera, Beyond Coal Intern
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Kat at firstname.lastname@example.org.