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    Sierra Club: Report - Xcel's Denver Gas Plants Exacerbate Environmental Injustice


    November 17, 2021 - Targeted News Service

     

      DENVER, Colorado, Nov. 17 (TNSRep) -- The Sierra Club issued the following news release on Nov. 16, 2021:

      This morning, Sierra Club released a new report detailing how the two gas-fired power plants that Xcel Energy operates in Denver - Arapahoe and Cherokee - contribute to environmental injustice in the metro region. Both plants are located in low-income communities of color with higher-than-average health burdens, and they're adding to the already disproportionately high amount of other industrial sources of pollution in those communities.

      Not only do the gas plants threaten the health of families in the nearby community, but they stand in the way of Denver's goal of reaching 100% clean energy by 2030.

      In response to the study's findings, environmental justice advocates from across the Denver area are calling on Xcel Energy to accelerate timelines to close the gas plants. Xcel's current electric resource plan (ERP) filing projects Cherokee won't fully close until 2055 - five years after the utility's own deadline for delivering 100% carbon-free electricity - and excludes any confirmation on the utility's exit from Arapahoe.

      "It's no surprise that when you look at a map of where BIPOC and POC are living, and then look at a map of where polluting gas plants exist - they are virtually the same map. This holds true with Xcel's Cherokee and Arapahoe gas plants in Denver. It is time for the people to stand together and refuse to allow these injustices to continue. The high rates of asthma and cancer that we experience due to Xcel's environmental racism are something that we never should have had to deal with. It is time for Xcel to listen. The gas plants must be shut down now. The call for environmental justice is no longer waiting," says Katara Burrola, Environmental Justice Organizer at Mi Familia Vota.

      "As a child, I grew up seeing the Cherokee power plant tower from my front yard. My mother and community members from across the region still have to look at it and know that it marks the many sources of pollution that the government, along with industry, have deemed acceptable. We are here today to tell you it never was acceptable to pollute these communities. It's time to put these racist and classist sacrifice zones behind us by shutting these plants and remediating the harms. This is what environmental liberation looks like and what GreenLatinos fights for," says Ean Thomas Tafoya, Colorado State Director of GreenLatinos.

      "We won't stand for it anymore - no more polluting power plants that make Xcel shareholders rich while my constituents are forced to live nearby only to suffer from environmentally induced health impacts. It's time to shut down these plants and allow the transition to begin to create systems where every home could be its own power plant," says Kristi Douglas, Commerce City At-Large Councilmember-Elect.

      "Xcel's gas plants are perhaps Denver's most overlooked environmental justice offenders," says Anna McDevitt, Sierra Club Campaign Manager and author of the report. "There's a lot of focus on the dangerous pollution from Suncor and I-70, but no one ever talks about how Colorado's second largest gas plant is right next door in the same, majority Latino, neighborhoods. Denver had record bad air days this summer and Xcel's gas plants are part of the problem."

      "As someone who has asthma and lives close to the Cherokee Gas Plant (as well as many of the constituents in my district), I'm concerned about the health impacts of the emissions, and I encourage the full retirement of the plant," says Candi CdeBaca, Denver City Council District 9.

      Read the full report and a summary blog (https://www.sierraclub.org/articles/2021/11/xcel-energys-gas-plants-disproportionately-threaten-health-and-safety-denvers) from the author.

      * * *

      REPORT: https://www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/Report%20-%20Xcel%20Energy%27s%20Gas%20Plants%20Threaten%20the%20Health%20and%20Safety%20of%20Denver%27s%20Communities%20of%20Color.pdf

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