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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities - Michael Hancox EPISODE 71
Coal Blooded — Coal Power Plants as a Civil Rights Issue
00:00:00 00:34:05

Coal Blooded — Coal Power Plants as a Civil Rights Issue


Coal, Coal-Fired Power Plants, and the Impacts on Communities

In This Episode:

[01:58] Mike shares information about Island Press and Infinite Earth Radio’s series on urban resilience.

[03:18] Mike talks about the topic of today’s podcast.

[05:15] Vernice identifies why the EPA has been focused on regulating the emissions from coal-fired power plants.

[10:50] Guest Jacqueline Patterson is introduced.

[11:31] Jacqueline defines the term “urban resiliency.”

[12:49] Jacqueline shares what she thinks motivated the NAACP to create the energy and climate-justice program.

[14:34] Jacqueline discusses the reactions to the NAACP beginning to take on environmental issues.

[15:53] Jacqueline expresses whether there is a legal advantage to viewing environmental issues as civil-rights issues.

[17:02] Jacqueline talks about the NAACP’s “Coal Blooded” report.

[19:41] Jacqueline shares her thoughts on the seeming lack of conversation around the negative impacts on communities of color and people living near power plants.

[21:30] Jacqueline discusses why uninterrupted energy service should be looked at as a civil-rights issue.

[25:35] Jacqueline addresses how to alleviate the hardship for people who can’t pay their utility bill.

[28:55] Jacqueline states what she’d like to see accomplished in the public-policy conversation.

[31:14] Mike shares what he noticed this week in the news.

[32:10] Vernice conveys what caught her attention this week in the news.


Jacqueline Patterson is the Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Since 2007 Patterson has served as coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United. She has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘ s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. Patterson served as a Senior Women’ s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid where she integrated a women’ s rights lens for the issues of food rights, macroeconomics, and climate change as well as the intersection of violence against women and HIV & AIDS.

Environmental injustice, including the proliferation of climate change, has a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income communities in the United States and around the world. The NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program was created to support community leadership in addressing this human and civil rights issue.

Take Away Quotes:

“The reason that EPA was so focused on trying to regulate the emissions from coal-fired power plants is that those emissions create huge pollution issues that then create and trigger huge public-health challenges…the combustion of coal has a lot of adverse impacts.”

“Resilience, I guess in any context…would be the ability of a community to withstand disturbances, basically, to life and living. And as we define resilience in our work as a civil- and human-rights organization, we look at the structural inequities that make certain communities more vulnerable—whether it’s disasters or sea-level rise or other types of shifts—and as we build resilience, it includes eliminating those vulnerabilities.”

“Communities of color; low-income communities; women, to some extent; and other groups are being disproportionately impacted by the environmental injustices—whether it’s exposure to toxins, air pollution, water pollution, land contamination, etc.—to the effect that these communities do hold these pre-existing vulnerabilities that make them more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, extreme weather events, shifts to the agricultural yields, etc.”

“The price of poverty should never be death.”


Island Press

Urban Resilience Project

NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program

Coal Blooded Report

Lights Out in the Cold: Reforming Utility Shut-Off Policies as if Human Rights Matter