People in Pennsylvania are getting sick. No, it’s not a flu outbreak or e. coli in the spinach. These people are falling ill and dying because the air they breathe has been poisoned by government subsidized coal-fired power plants.
Last year, a 12 month study by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette found that over 14,000 more people died from heart disease, respiratory disease, and lung cancer in Pennsylvania between 2000 and 2008 than national mortality rates predict. Even adjusting for those who smoke, that’s still a more than 10 percent higher mortality rate overall. Several studies have linked this accelerated disease and mortality rate to excessive air pollution.
While the source of the state’s air pollution might be hard to pinpoint while walking through the streets of Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, it’s easy to spot while driving along Rte. 22 in Indiana County, where clouds of soot and smoke billow from the stacks of the coal-fired Homer City power plant, one of the dirtiest power plants in the nation.
The outdated and inefficient Homer City coal plant is one of the largest emitters of harmful sulfur dioxide in the United States — responsible for 660 asthma attacks and 43 premature deaths every year, according to the Clean Air Task Force.
In response to the judge’s decision, Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter Conservation Chair Thomas Au issued the following statement:
“This judicial decision is a threat to residents of Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey who want to breathe clean air and a slap in the face to everyone who has suffered unnecessarily from asthma attacks, respiratory disease, and heart attacks for nearly two decades because of the dirty and dangerous Homer City coal plant…It is past time for General Electric, the owner of the Homer City coal plant, to replace the power from this polluting behemoth with energy efficiency and clean energy.”
Take Action: Help the citizens of Pennsylvania fight back against the Homer City Coal Plant by signing the petition below.
Image Credit: Flickr – elibeck