Tag Archives: asthma

Press Event in Houston: Study Predicts More Unhealthy Air for Houstonians if Proposed White Stallion Coal Plant Built

Things are gaining momentum in Houston.  The results of a pollution study are in, conducted by Dr. Tammy Thompson, postdoctoral associate from the MIT Joint Program for the Science and Policy of Global Change.

This report studied how the pollution from White Stallion Energy Station will make it even harder for Houston to have clean air, and how residents with lung disease will have one more source of breathing problems.  Even those without lung disease are at risk, since coal is a dirty source of energy and leaves its mark in our air.

Texas Sierra Club will have a press conference detailing the findings of the report, at Houston City Hall on Tuesday, July 19, 10:00 a.m. We’re very excited to have Council Member Gonzalez, Council Member Jones, Dr. Thompson and Dr. Stuart Abramson, M.D., as speakers.

Everyone is invited and urged to come out and show their support in our fight against coal, which destroys ecosystems, water systems, and threatens our right to clean air.  Houston already has a bad reputation for dirty air, and simply cannot make room for another source of air pollution.  Join us on Tuesday, July 19th, 10am at Houston City Hall- look for the HUGE inflatable inhaler!

WHAT:        Sierra Club releases a report titled, “White Stallion’s potential impact on Houston Air Quality” at a PRESS CONFERENCE

WHO:  Houston Vice Mayor Pro Tem, City Council Member Ed Gonzalez

Houston City Council Member Jolanda “Jo” Jones

Dr. Tammy M Thompson, MIT Joint Program for the Science and Policy of Global Change

Dr. Stuart Abramson, member of The Leadership Council for the American Lung Association of the Plains-Gulf Region, Houston area,board-certified allergist/immunologist and asthma specialist

Lydia Avila, Conservation Organizer, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign

WHEN:                    Tuesday, July 19, 10:00 AM

WHERE:   Hermann Square Reflection Pool, 901 Bagby, Houston, TX 77002, Houston City

Email kat.m.herrera@gmail.com for more information!

Houston simply cannot afford a new source of air pollution.

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 kat.m.herrera@gmail.com.   

You, too, can have your own Decorative Inhaler

Tackling Childhood Asthma Not Coal Industry Priority After All
No more My Little Pony inhalers in stock
Contact: asthma@coalcares.org, (314) 472-5539
A charitable initiative by the world’s largest coal company to provide free “novelty-themed” inhalers to asthmatic children may have seemed for a moment like a (somewhat misguided) breath of fresh air, coming as it did from an industry whose emissions are directly linked to childhood asthma, and which is fighting to gut clean air legislation that would save children’s lives.

Coal Cares™ (www.coalcares.org) is purported to “make asthma cool” with decorative and pop-culture inspired inhalers (“The Bieber,” “Harry Potter,” “My Little Pony,” and “My First Inhaler” were particular favorites). The site also announced that Peabody would offer $10 coupons towards asthma medication (about 5%-20% of the cost) for families living within 200 miles of a coal-fired plant. It featured a “Kidz Koal Korner” with asthma-related games for tots, an extensive asthma trivia section and FAQ (Peter the Great was asthmatic, who knew!), and a thorough condemnation of solar and wind alternatives.
It was, of course, a hoax, and it was aimed at Peabody Coal, which is lobbying ferociously against new pollution standards for power plants proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), standards the agency says will prevent 120,000 cases of childhood asthma each year in the United States. Peabody spent over $6 million lobbying Congress last year, and the industry has created a dizzying array of fake “grassroots” front groups to distort the public debate and fight legislation.
(Meanwhile, a new study by the American Lung Association notes that coal-fired power plants produce more hazardous air pollution in the United States than any other source, with the pollution killing 13,000 people a year. Coal-ash disposal alone increases risk of cancer, learning disabilities, birth defects and other illnesses due to exposure from heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury.)
The Coal Cares™ hoax was devised by a group called Coal is Killing Kids (CKK), a small environmental and public health group that aims to challenge Big Coal’s expensive lobbying against sensible updates to the Clean Air Act. “We don’t have their millions, but we do have a knack for incredibly tasteless jokes,” said Veronica Tomlinson, a pediatrician and member of CKK. CKK worked with the Yes Lab, which is a project of The Yes Men to help activist groups carry out media-savvy creative actions on their own.
“Sure, it’s kind of tasteless to say that ‘Bieber’ inhalers are a solution to childhood asthma,” said Janet Bellamy, a spokesperson for CKK. “But it’s a great deal more tasteless to cause that asthma in the first place, as coal-fired power plants have been proven to do.” Added Justin V. Bond, another spokesperson for CKK: “It’s even more tasteless to disproportionately kill poor people.” Coal-fired power plants are very often built in areas populated by low-income citizens, who then bear the brunt of the health effects.
“People may laugh at our sick jokes,” said Bellamy, “but they also understand the real health impacts of burning coal. That’s exactly what the coal industry doesn’t want people to think about, because if enough of us were aware of it, we would shut these plants down once and for all.”

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Texas Naughty Neighbors’ No-No.

Coal-fired plants create hazard across region, environmentalists say

By MATTHEW TRESAUGUE
Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle

Fayette Coal Plant

The report supports earlier concerns raised by Oklahoma officials about the potential impacts on their state from the nearly 30 coal-fired plants either operating, permitted or proposed in Texas.

Study: Texas coal plants foul neighbors’ air

Perry’s TCEQ Commissioners Fail Yet Again to Protect Public Health

Governor Rick Perry's TCEQ Loves Coal Plants. Ignores Pleas of People for Healthy Clean Air.

Despite the wisdom of the Matagorda County medical community’s pleas in a letter signed by 30 doctors, despite its own Administrative Law Judges’ recommendations, despite the wishes of the residents of Matagorda County in the No Coal Coalition, Governor Perry’s Commissioners at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) today granted the White Stallion coal plant permit to pollute.   

This morning,  while citizens from Matagorda County including a class of  school children watched, Chairman Shaw and Commissioners Garcia and Rubio, criticized the recommendations from the state’s administrative law judges and decided to grant the permit with special conditions.  Sierra Club once again calls on the state legislature to reform the TCEQ so that it cannot continue to ignore federal and state air quality standards during the permitting process.  

Air polution from Coal Plants is Linked to Asthma, other Respiratory Ailments, Heart Disease, Neurological Disorders, and Early Mortality.

 “Once again, the Commissioners are doing the work for the applicant and using this failed system to avoid public input.”  said Jen Powis Senior Regional Representative for Sierra Club.  “Today’s decision is another pitiful example of how Governor Perry and his political cronies ignore federal and state law and reward companies to pollute in Texas.”  

The Cronies — Perry’s TCEQ Commissioners Shaw, Garcia, and Rubinstein

  

“TCEQ is a failed agency and has failed the citizens of Texas again.”  said Allison Sliva with the No Coal Coalition of Matagorda County.   “The administrative law judges didn’t like this permit, elected officials in Matagorda County and Houston have raised serious questions about it, and the citizens don’t like it.  But rather than consider these criticisms, the Commissioners ignored these concerns and simply granted it.”    
Read more about what happenedMourn…then, organize!