Justin Roberson (left), age 6, and Mychal Adams, age 1, wait on a stack of bottled water at a rally where the Rev. Jesse Jackson was speaking about about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Jan. 17, 2016. (photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Aaron Morrison | International Business Times | Reader Supported News | January 25, 2016
lizer Lee Cruz will occasionally look out at English Station — the shuttered and corroding coal power plant sitting on an eight-acre island in the middle of Mill River — and marvel at its architecture. From Fair Haven, a neighborhood just east of the river comprising largely minority and working-poor people, Cruz and his neighbors can see the tops of four of the facility’s smokestacks that stopped billowing in 1992.
“The way the bricks are laid — little blocks of cement with a circle and a lightning bolt — it was a power plant that was built to the glory of God,” he says, describing what he can see from the riverbanks. But that awe is fleeting for Cruz, an environmental activist who last year fought a plan that would have reopened the plant .
English Station, though dormant for more than two decades, still casts a large shadow. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has condemned it as a brownfield site whose grounds are tainted with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, a contaminant that causes cancer. The energy company that once owned the facility sold it to another company, and a disagreement over who is responsible for the site’s neglect has delayed cleanup.