Ga. Activist: More Minority Voices Needed In Energy Debate | WABE 90.1 FM

Ga. Activist: More Minority Voices Needed In Energy Debate

Aug 11, 2015

The CEO of the Atlanta-based environmental group Rooted, Seandra Pope, believes alternative and renewable energy sources will ultimately benefit minority communities, who have been disproportionately impacted by pollution, according to several studies.
Credit Bob Gaffney / flickr.com/thegaffneys

The Obama administration recently unveiled an unprecedented action plan to address climate change. The Clean Power Plan significantly cuts carbon emissions from U.S. power plants over the next 15 years, setting the first-ever carbon emission standards for power plants.

Rooted CEO Seandra Pope says she wants to see more minority voices involved in the conversation on energy policy and climate change.
Credit Brenna Beech / WABE

After the administration's announcement, some Georgia officials expressed concern that the plan will ultimately hurt minorities and low-income families by driving up energy costs.

But the CEO of the Atlanta-based climate and environmental group Rooted, Seandra Pope, believes clean energy is here to stay and that limiting the use of coal and fossil fuels will ultimately benefit minority communities.

Pope said that, though studies have shown that minority and low-income families are disproportionately impacted by air pollution, minorities have been almost absent from the debate over environmental issues.

“Minority voices have been underrepresented in the conversation about climate,” Pope said.

“There are many reports and different findings that show minorities do have an interest in climate change and energy policy. I just think traditionally some environmental organizations haven’t necessarily drawn the parallel to some of the issues that have long plagued some of the African-American community and minority communities.”

Pope discussed the need for more minority voices in the energy policy debate, the impact of pollution on communities of color, health effects and more on “A Closer Look.”

WABE’s Eboni Lemon, Rose Scott, and Denis O’Hayer contributed to this story.