Fight the Power
African Americans are more likely than white Americans to live near power plants and suffer negative health consequences as a result, according to a report released yesterday by civil and environmental rights activists. The report found that 68 percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant, as opposed to 56 percent of whites. The most serious health impacts of power plants are felt by those living within a 30-mile radius, according to the study. In addition, the report found, 71 percent of African Americans live in counties that don’t meet federal air pollution standards, as compared with 58 percent of whites. The findings could help explain why hospitalization rates and death rates from asthma are three times as high and twice as high, respectively, among African Americans as among whites. Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, executive director of the Black Leadership Forum, one of the groups that released the report, said the study points to the need not only to clean up power plants, but also to provide African Americans with better access to medical care, education, and economic opportunities.