Thanks in part to the hard work of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, last week marked the 150th coal plant defeated or abandoned in the past ten years! Purdue University cancelled plans last week to build a new campus coal plant – but is still moving forward with a new wind farm!In the last two years no new coal plants have started construction, and the industry has announced the phase out of 50 more current plants. “The way people, businesses, governments and schools think about energy has shifted. The dirty coal status-quo is no longer acceptable,” said Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “It is clear that clean energy technologies—ones that don’t spew life-threatening pollution into our air and water—are the way to a prosperous, secure energy future.”
At the beginning of the coal rush in 2001 more than 150 coal plants were slated for construction. Today a majority of those projects have been defeated or abandoned because of tremendous grassroots pressure, rising costs and a slate of clean up requirements expected from the Environmental Protection Agency. In Minnesota, just our 46 coal plants put out 31.5 million metric tons of climate change-affecting CO2 every year – stopping 150 plants is a huge victory in the fight to mitigate the worst affects of climate change! Beyond just CO2, stopping 150 plants is a great victory for the air we breathe and water we drink. As we saw last week with the announcement of another coal-cancer link, we don’t even know all of the negative impacts coal is having on us!
“The pollution from these coal plants is making us sick, worsening asthma, stifling childhood development and cutting short thousands of lives. Phasing out coal is essential to cleaning up our air and water, and protecting our families,” said Verena Owen volunteer chair of the Beyond Coal Campaign. “Making the switch to clean energy, like wind and solar, is good for our health, but it will also create jobs which makes it good for our economy too.”
Get involved in our North Star Chapter’s work in moving beyond coal by signing up to volunteer on our website.