For a long time families in Shelby County endured some of the worst air quality in the region, exceeding safety limits set by the EPA, resulting in Memphis recently being named ‘Asthma Capital of the U.S.’ by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, said Scott Banbury, conservation program coordinator with the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club. “But by the end of this year, TVA will close its Allen coal plant, the biggest polluter in Shelby County, and the greatest source of asthma-triggering emissions. Now this improvement is undercut by evidence that pollution from the smokestacks of Entergy’s Arkansas coal plants is blowing east over the state line, directly into Memphis communities.Whatever Tennesseans should do, they shouldn't ask Attorney General Leslie Rutledge or the federal EPA or Department of Energy about this. Coal is coming back, baby. Just ask Donald Trump. A few months ago, Rutledge cheered EPA boss Scott Pruitt's decision to delay new ozone standards for Arkansas, for example.
“It’s only been about a year since our local smog levels finally cleared up enough to meet air quality standards.The dirty and dangerous pollution coming from Entergy makes it harder for us to maintain compliance with air quality standards and keeping our communities safe from harmful smog. It’s time for Tennessee leaders to call on the state of Arkansas to stop polluting Memphis.”