Poor People Stuck With Coal Ash

Coal poses a threat to everyone, but some people suffer more than others. (Photo: otodo [CC BY SA-2.0]/Flickr)

Here's another reason it sucks to be poor -- you stand a higher chance of living close to a toxic coal ash storage site.

The Sierra Club combined a recently released EPA report detailing 44 "high hazard" coal ash storage sites with population data and found that they are disproportionately located near people living below the poverty line. It shouldn't be surprising to anyone -- when have poor people not been dumped on by the rest of society? -- but it's kind of stark when you see the numbers.

One of the criteria for a coal ash storage site to be designated as "high hazard" is a likelihood of a loss of life if a storage pond or dam failed. When, not if, another storage pond fails, it's going to be people at the bottom of the financial spectrum facing a tidal wave of black toxic coal ash sludge pouring into their neighborhoods.

You can send a message to clean up coal ash to your senator through the Sierra Club.

They've also helpfully put up the 44 "high hazard" coal ash storage sites on Google Maps. Click over and see how close you live to one.