Sierra Club’s strategic vision for 2030 includes restoring clean air and water, providing affordable clean energy, supporting family-sustaining jobs, and addressing both systemic injustices and inequities in our response to climate disruptions. Heavy manufacturing represents an important space in this indispensable transformation. In particular, facilities that produce steel, cement, aluminum, and metallurgical coke — a coal by-product used in steelmaking — are challenging to decarbonize and produce a range of adverse environmental and health impacts. Simultaneously, they are foundational industries that supply essential goods for our society and directly employ approximately 100,000 workers.
Given the consequential impacts of these manufacturing facilities on the economy, environment, and communities, good data is vital for making good policies and taking constructive action. This includes understanding the specific effects of each industry at large, as well as the impacts of individual facilities.
Coming Clean on Industrial Emissions
Towards that goal, the Sierra Club commissioned the report “Coming Clean on Industrial Emissions: Challenges, Inequities, and Opportunities in US Steel, Aluminum, Cement, and Coke” alongside the creation of a database and interactive map, which estimates the production, emissions, and employment at more than 200 facilities that produce primary iron and steel, metallurgical coke for the iron and steel industry, cement, and aluminum. The report and interactive map also provide information on fenceline communities and the toxic pollution burdens they face.
The goal of this research is to support public engagement with industry and government around policies to transform American manufacturing to serve a more sustainable economy, while improving climate and public health impacts. In addition, the database and report outline where the publicly available resources on toxic pollution lack precision, pinpointing areas for the US government to intensify monitoring and ensure public awareness of the social costs of pollution.
Explore the Report
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