We Energies Letter Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2018
Clean Power Coalition Demands Better Air Monitoring from We Energies
Concern for Health of Oak Creek Plant Neighbors Motivates Group’s Request
Oak Creek, WI – The Clean Power Coalition – Southeast Wisconsin is urging We Energies to improve both its air quality monitoring and data reporting to better protect the health of families living near the utility’s coal-burning Oak Creek and Elm Road power plants. On behalf of the Clean Power Coalition, Steve Slavens, Chair of the organization’s Data Committee, has sent a letter today to Kevin Fletcher, President of We Energies, with details of the requests, including:
- Placement of an additional air monitor on the north side of the power plants, where hundreds of Oak Creek residents live within close proximity to We Energies’ recently expanded coal pile.
- Movement of We Energies’ current south side air monitor to more accurately measure the particulate emissions risk to Crestview and other neighborhoods.
- Real-time release of monitoring data and an alert system to inform residents when air quality levels become hazardous.
“We Energies has a responsibility to do everything in its power to safeguard the health of local residents. As the grandfather of a toddler living in the shadow of these plants, I am particularly concerned about how coal pollution could affect his health. While putting up air monitors in nearby neighborhoods and alerting the public in real time to health hazards wouldn’t resolve the issue, it would be a good first step towards transparency and accountability. We hope We Energies takes these concerns seriously and responds promptly to our requests.” Slavens remarked.
Greg Millard, who lives on the north side of the Oak Creek Plant in the Elm Road neighborhood, added, “I’ve been raising concerns about air pollution with We Energies for years. After I started speaking up, We Energies took down the only air monitor on the north side and told me I was safe because they still had a monitor on the south side. This was right before they expanded the coal pile, which has made the air quality even worse and causes terrible noise 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This massive pile of coal is now less than 1800 feet from my house. We need air monitoring on the north side to hold We Energies accountable.”
Bill Pringle, a former resident of Crestview, agreed, and also emphasized the need for better monitoring on the south side of the plant. “The prevailing winds push coal dust to the east, yet We Energies’ south side monitor is located west of the coal trains. Moving the monitor is common sense. I don’t believe the Crestview residents are being told the truth about what’s in the air.”
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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 / Racine Dominicans / Racine Green Party / Sierra Club, Beyond Coal Campaign / Sierra Club, Southeast Gateway Group / Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light / 350 Milwaukee