Coal Dust Found Again Coating Oak Creek Cars and Playground
Neighbors of We Energies’ plant outraged and concerned for their families
Oak Creek, WI – On Sunday afternoon, for a second time this month, Coal dust was found covering properties, cars, and the local playground in neighborhoods just north of the Oak Creek power plants. This latest incident occurred despite We Energies’ claims that they have upgraded their operating procedures to resolve dust issues. Breathing in coal dust is linked to chronic respiratory issues and exacerbation of asthma. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Coal dust also contains toxic heavy metals including arsenic, mercury, and lead.
“I am worried for my kids. We can see the coal pile from our yard and we have no protection,” said Michelle Jeske, a resident in the area and a mother of four boys. “This happens all the time, at least every couple of days. It’s not a rare occurrence, and it’s not just a nuisance. We’re breathing it in.”
“Today’s incident is just more proof that there’s no safe way to run a coal plant,” said Dana LaFontsee, a spokesperson for the Clean Power Coalition of Southeast Wisconsin. “We Energies claims they have taken extra precautions, but it’s just common sense that if you put a massive pile of dusty, toxic coal next to a neighborhood, it’s going to blow into the air people breathe. We need clean energy, not excuses.”
We Energies has agreed to attend a public listening session in a little over a week to hear directly from those who are impacted. The Public Listening Session is scheduled for April 4 from 6 to 7:30 at the Oak Creek Library.
The Clean Power Coalition-Southeast Wisconsin will educate the public about the dangers of burning coal on the health of those who live and work in the vicinity of We Energies’ South Oak Creek and Elm Road Power Plants. How we choose to generate electricity has consequences that reach far beyond the return on shareholder investment, affecting everything from public health to a stable climate. When air, water, and soil are polluted, health and life are put at risk. The Clean Power Coalition will promote public debate about the appropriate source of energy for Southeastern Wisconsin. At the same time, the coalition urges We Energies to: 1.) immediately contain the coal dust and other health hazards emanating from the Oak Creek plants, 2.) phase out its use of coal, and 3.) promote rather than obstruct the adoption of renewable energy throughout its service territory.
Clean Power Coalition convening member organizations: Eco Justice Center / Environmental Accountability Group / Greening Greater Racine / Moms Clean Air Force / Racine Dominicans / Racine Green Party / Sierra Club, Beyond Coal Campaign / Sierra Club, Southeast Gateway Group / Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light / 350 Milwaukee
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