Sunday, January 17, 2010

Riviera Beach residents meet Monday to discuss environmental justice and energy options

For immediate release, 1-17-2010

Riviera Beach, FL-- Riviera Beach Civic Association (RBCA) will be joining with the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (PBCEC) this Monday, January 18, Martin Luther King Day, at 6 pm in Newcomb Hall, 180 East 13th Street, to discuss environmental alternatives in the City of Riviera Beach.

Residents of Riviera Beach are currently living with one of the dirtiest power plants in the entire State of Florida. The meeting will feature local community and business leaders as well as energy experts and grassroots activists discussing this FPL facility and other issues.

Following the rejection of FPL's recent rate-increase request by Florida's Public Service Commission (PSC), FPL stated that it no longer intends to 'modernize' the diesel-fired Riviera plant. This leaves a new uncertainty around the contentious plant, which is 'grandfathered' to operate beyond Clean Air Act standards.

The environmental and public health activists also intend to address the issue of 'environmental racism' as it relates to the FPL facility.

"Environmental racism means that as a black person in America, we are 5 times more likely than a white person to live within walking distance of a power plant," said RBCA member Al Lark. Lark is chairperson of the Civic Association's Environmental Committee and is also involved with the PBCEC.

According to U.S. Census data, 68% of African Americans live within 30 miles of a power plant – and those 30 miles are the distance where the maximum effects of the smokestack plume are felt. For comparison, 56% of the white population is within 30 miles of a power plant.

EPA data shows that 71% of African Americans live in counties that violate federal air pollution standards, compared to 58% of the white population.

Lark and other activists across Palm Beach County hope that this meeting will begin the urgent dialogue needed to work towards clean, safe, renewable, decentralized energy options in the City.



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