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Environmentalists Protest SEPTA's Planned Facility In Nicetown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Environmentalists are protesting a power generating station that SEPTA wants to build at its facility in Nicetown. SEPTA says the plant is actually meant to improve the environment.

Plant opponent Peter Winslow calls the project "an act of environmental racism."

"It is going to impact the health of the people living in Nicetown, a dense residential neighborhood that's primarily African-American," he said.

Winslow says the area already has one of the highest rates of asthma in the city, because of the Septa bus depot there.

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SEPTA Director of Innovation Erik Johanson says the new plant will actually help by replacing aging boilers at the depot and generating power for more efficient train service, thus reducing auto use.

"We've taken many many steps to reduce to minimize local impacts and in fact the project is part of our broader strategy to reduce emissions," he said.

Johanson says such plants are in many parts of the city, and SEPTA's will be one of the least polluting.

Still district councilwoman Cindy Bass is asking SEPTA to hold off and keep working with the community.

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