Press Field Trip: Community Environmental Justice in Brandywine, Maryland

Hosted by AGU, BTB Coalition and local partners

Sunday, 9 December, 1:00-5:00 PM

Air quality is an issue of great importance for human rights, public health, and social fairness because of its profound influence on human health. The burden of air quality impacts is not shared equally by all communities.

By the end of 2019, three large (250-, 775- and 990-megawatt) fossil fuel-fired power plants will operate immediately within a 2.9-mile radius of the majority black community of Brandywine, Maryland (population less than 10,000). The 990-megawatt plant (Panda Matawoman Power Project), planned to come online in 2019, will worsen the exposure of elderly and young populations, particularly those who are low-income, to airborne pollutants. In addition to power plants, Brandywine residents also face pollution from a coal-ash disposal landfill, a Superfund site (Brandywine DRMO), toxic waste treatment facilities, a sludge lagoon, multiple sand and gravel mines, and roads highly congested with diesel truck traffic. Brandywine Elementary School is centrally located to these sources and has been heighted as a point of concern in a community Health Impact Assessment.

In this field trip for members of the media, journalists will learn about how scientists and community members are working together to collect data on air quality in Brandywine and advocate for health in an unincorporated area that has no formal local government. On the tour, led by AGU partner Brandywine | TB Southern Region Neighborhood Coalition (the BTB Coalition), participants will see various sites affecting the community and hear from community residents, local activists and scientists about the issues faced by residents, and how these groups are working together to understand the health risks and advocate for environmental justice.

The local air quality project with BTB Coalition is one of more than 80 Thriving Earth Exchange projects currently underway or completed in the U.S. Thriving Earth Exchange is a program powered by AGU that brings communities together with Earth and space scientists to address local challenges related to natural resources, natural hazards and climate issues. The BTB Coalition is a community group founded to encourage the informed and active participation of citizens in government, work to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influence public policy through education and advocacy. 


When: Sunday, December 9, 2018, 1:00 – 5:00 pm

Where: The field trip will depart from and return to the Washington Convention Center. Further details on the trip will be provided closer to the meeting.

Cost: Free!

Eligibility: Space for the tour is limited. Staff journalists representing media organizations, freelance journalists, photographers, videographers, podcasters, bloggers, authors and filmmakers will have first priority for registration. If space is still available on the tour one week before the meeting, AGU will open the tour to public information officers and institutional science communicators. PIOs and institutional science communicators interested in attending should email to be notified if space becomes available.

If you are unsure what media category you fit into, read AGU’s press eligibility guidelines here. 

Register: Reporters can register for the field trip here. All reporters planning to attend the field trip MUST pre-register; no on-site registrations will be accepted. 

Note: If you register for the field trip and are unable to attend, please cancel your registration as soon as possible so that AGU can make your spot available to another person.

Questions: email Nanci Bompey at