“Yeah, you don’t wanna live there.” Joe Rogan name-drops Evansville in recent podcast
The city of Evansville was mentioned in a recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” and not for a good reason.
On the Feb. 16 edition of his podcast, Rogan, who’s been the subject of a few recent controversies regarding his stance on COVID-19 vaccines and his use of the N-word on several past podcast episodes, talked with Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist and professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University about a variety of topics on climate change. Evansville came up when the conversation veered to a discussion on air pollution caused by coal-fired power plants.
The podcast averages 11 million listeners per episode.
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A little more than an hour into the podcast, Rogan asked his assistant, Jamie Vernon, to search the Internet for North American cities most polluted by coal. The search brought back Evansville at the top of the list.
“Evansville?” Rogan asked. “I know someone from Evansville.”
Vernon noted that there were seven coal plants “within 30 miles” of the city, which prompted shocked replies from both Rogan and Dessler.
“Yeah, you don’t want to live there,” Dessler said.
“Holy shit, we need to see what that (Evansville) sky looks like,” Rogan replied.
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“Southwest Indiana has some of the worst air quality in the country,” a man says at the beginning of the clip. “The people are suffering there.”
Dessler’s appearance on the podcast came a week after Rogan hosted Steven Koonin, a physicist and former U.S. Department of Energy undersecretary of science during President Obama’s administration, to talk about his views on climate change and why he doesn’t believe “the science is settled” in regards to there being a climate emergency.
Where Evansville stands on coal pollution
Environmental activists have long described Southwest Indiana as a “sacrifice zone” where health takes a back seat to the coal industry. Improvements in air quality have been seen in recent decades as utilities added pollution controls to comply with changing federal air quality regulations.
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While the area no longer struggles to meet air quality standards as it once did, it still experiences occasional air quality alerts for ozone or fine particulate pollution.
In 2020, coal fueled 53 percent of Indiana’s electricity production compared to 19 percent nationally, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Indiana ranks third in the nation in total coal consumption and coal consumption for electricity generation, after Texas and Missouri.
However, there has been some good news for Southwest Indiana residents. Indiana Michigan Power is working to close both its massive coal-fired generating units at Rockport, Indiana, in 2028. CenterPoint Energy is in the process of replacing its coal-burning A.B. Brown Power plant near Evansville with turbines that will burn somewhat cleaner natural gas, although that is still a fossil fuel that will produce carbon emissions.
C&P Environment Reporter Mark Wilson contributed to this story.
Contact Ray Couture at [email protected] or on Twitter @raybc94
This article originally appeared on Evansville Courier & Press: Joe Rogan name-drops Evansville in recent podcast