Morning Read: NCPR’s Sarah Harris partners on “Poisoned Places” environment series

Sarah Harris

Sarah Harris

This morning at the on-line magazine Slate, you’ll find an article by NPR’s Howard Berkes and NCPR contributor Sarah Harris exploring the environmental impact of a cement plant in the Midwest.
When operating at capacity, the Chanute plant has discharged into the air more than 500 pounds of mercury a year, though the economic downturn has cut operations and mercury emissions the last three years. Mercury is one of the nearly 200 toxic substances singled out in the bipartisan effort to toughen the Clean Air Act two decades ago, and the EPA still struggles to limit it.
Harris started working on the project as part of her work at Middlebury College. The piece is a fascinating exploration of how communities deal with industries that provide jobs and put health at risk.
“We’re not really tree-hugging liberals,” said [Selene] Hummer. “But when your environment becomes damaged or you feel that you’re being contaminated—I don’t care what party you’re in—this is your human life.”
Read the full article here. And you can find NPR’s Poisoned Places series here. It includes an interactive map (embedded below) that shows some of the biggest polluters in America — including a half-dozen operators in the North Country. NPR’s version of the Chanute cement plant story, reported by Howard Berkes, aired yesterday on Morning Edition.


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3 Comments on “Morning Read: NCPR’s Sarah Harris partners on “Poisoned Places” environment series”

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  1. Mervel says:

    That map is awesome, thanks.

  2. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    I agree with Mervel, the map is great for understanding currently active sites. However it does not include locations of defunct industrial sites that remain hazards or potential hazards. So as scary as this map is, the reality of the situation is even worse.

  3. Mervel says:

    Thats a good point knuckle.

    For example in the Burg there are whole brown fields along the waterfront where augsbury oil used to operate that are still contaminated with no clean up plans in the work (thus they are chain linked off from use and simply a waste now). Also I don’t think the giant chemical dump that GM left our Mohawk friends on the reservation was shown on that map either.

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