by Tashun Chism
Reverend Bettie Kennedy knows all too well about the dangers of power plant pollution. She believes members of her family still suffer from it today.
"Just in the far distance there was a plant across the way here and two of my children are suffering from emphysema now because of it. And I didn't realize until many years later that maybe that pollution had something to do with it," said Kennedy.
Kennedy tells us her children have these problems even though none of them smoke.
That's one reason she is opposed to Aspen Power's proposal to build a plant off Kurth Drive in North Lufkin.
Those in favor of the plant say it will bring jobs to the area. Others believe no amount of money is worth their integrity and good health.
"Money is not everything in life. I think there's more to life than money," Kennedy told us.
Aspen Power officials want to educate people about their plans.
That's why they are inviting a group of eight North Lufkin leaders on a trip to St. Paul, Minnesota this week to survey a similar plant.
"If you're putting it in the African-American community because it's the cheapest land, because it's the easiest place to put a plant, yeah, that's environmental racism. But if it's there because of economic development or empowerment for the community, that's not," said Reverend Lonnie Williams of Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.
Williams is one of the eight North Lufkin leaders going on to Minnesota.
"I think that's a good thing. I think for them to go see first hand how other communities have thrived in the midst of a plant similar to this would bring knowledge and information to us," Kennedy agreed.
Those traveling to Minnesota say they'll keep an open mind during the trip, but add that won't stop them from being honest about what they see when they return.