“Clearing the Air Road Tour” Day I–New Jersey
On April 13th, the NAACP Climate Justice Initiative kicked off its “Clean Air Road Tour”. In anticipation of the upcoming release of a report on the nation’s most toxic coal fired power plants, in partnership with the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, the Little Village Environmental Organization, and the Indigenous Environmental Network, the CJI decided to get on the road to profile the communities, primarily comprised of people of color that are impacted by these toxic facilities.
In my first visit, I had the honor and inspiration in meeting with several NAACP members in New Jersey regarding existing and emerging threats to communities there due to coal fired power plants. I learned so much in my few hours in New Jersey about the situation there.
What’s known by most is that New Jersey is an industrial center and a major thoroughfare for the transport of goods. Thus, the environmental toxic exposures by residents are many.
New Jersey was at the top of our list because it is home to the #2 plant in our ranking, the Hudson Generating Station. Our ranking was based on level of poisonous emissions, cross referenced by proximity to large populations of communities of color and low-income communities. My interview was with RJ Harper, a Jersey City activist and filmmaker who is engaged on another issue, the location of a dump for 500,000 tons of Chronium 6 (a known carcinogen) in the middle of a community, adjacent to a facility for pregnant and early parenting families. He shared information about the struggles and successes of the community group that is organizing to clean up this toxic site and secure justice for the residents.
RJ also shared his perspective on the Hudson plant, the emissions of which he and his community ingest each day with every breath.
I also met with Ted Carrington, the 3rd Vice President of the New Jersey State Conference of NAACP. He shared extensively about the Linden plant, located near New Brunswick, NJ which stands to further compromise the health and wellbeing of the already environmentally besieged communities of New Jersey.