Indian Point’s closure will mean a fallback on New York’s efforts to protect inner-city neighborhoods from poor air quality, as Ricardo Byrd emphasized in his August 14 op-ed (“Brace for higher energy costs, worse pollution as Indian Point closes”).
Indian Point prevents an annual 8.5 million metric tons in carbon emissions, the equivalent of 1.6 million cars, by fueling 25 percent of the New York City region with emission-free electricity. Without it, the City will fall back on Queen’s peaker plants to fill Indian Point’s clean-power gap, and carbon levels will increase by 15 percent.
Inner-city residents are already exposed to high levels of carbon and other toxic emissions spewed from fossil fuel-burning plants in close proximity to their homes. Indian Point has played a key role in protecting human health and its loss will be costly. Governor Cuomo must come up with a clean energy replacement to fill the void left by Indian Point – not to preserve his own legacy, but to protect the health of inner-city residents.
About the Author:
Norris McDonald is president of the African American Environmentalist Association (AAEA). Founded in 1985, the AAEA is one of the nation’s oldest African American-led environmental organizations. The AAEA is dedicated to protecting the environment, enhancing human, animal and plant ecologies, promoting the efficient use of natural resources and increasing African American participation in the environmental movement.