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Mary Anne Hitt and Bruce Nilles' Posts

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Blowing in the right direction: Two big wind projects are moving forward

As we continue to retire aging dirty coal plant after aging dirty coal plant nationwide (we just hit 112 coal plants secured to retire), we are also pushing hard to replace them with clean energy, and as little natural gas as possible. That's why we were excited this week to see two very large clean energy announcements from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

First, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the completion of the final environmental impact statement for a massive Wyoming wind farm. The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project would be comprised of up to 1,000 wind turbines across private and federal land in southeastern Wyoming, and generate up to 2,500 megawatts of clean energy.

This is a great move for a state where coal mining is devastating a beautiful and critical area -- the Powder River Basin. More wind power in Wyoming could mean less coal mining and fewer coal trains and coal plants in the West. It is also a smart move for a state that sees itself as an energy powerhouse, and wants to keep this role in a future that will have little to no coal in it.

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The outlook dimmed for coal in 2010

The coal industry is taking its lumps.Some may describe 2010 as a tough year for those of us working to protect clean air, create clean energy jobs, and combat global warming. Some will say that the coal industry still has a headlock on our political system in Washington, evidenced by the Senate’s failure to adopt comprehensive clean energy and global warming legislation. But the reality is that 2010 was a rough year for the coal industry, as dozens of proposed new coal plants were taken off the drawing board and utilities announced the retirement of 12,000 megawatts of old coal …

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Blogging Begins from New Sierra Club Beyond Coal Director Mary Anne Hitt

Today I am officially turning over the blog reins to Mary Anne Hitt, the new Director of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign. She will now be blogging weekly on important coal and clean energy issues - so I urge you to bookmark her blog. Her first post is up now. Mary Anne has been with the Sierra Club for two years, serving first as the Deputy Director of the Beyond Coal Campaign. Before coming to the Club, she was the Executive Director of Appalachian Voices and co-founded ILoveMountains.org, an online campaign to end mountaintop removal coal mining that received …

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Last Chance to Tell EPA We Want Strong Coal Ash Safeguards

The comment period ends tomorrow for the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed federal safeguards for toxic coal ash. Coal ash is the by-product of burning coal for electricity, and it contains a toxic mix of chemicals: mercury, arsenic, lead, chromium, selenium, and more. We've been calling for strong federal safeguards from EPA during the comment period over the past few months. You've seen more than 2,000 people wanting protection from coal ash rally and then pack the eight EPA public hearings across the U.S. We've helped more than 118,000 concerned citizens send in their comments via email and postcard so far. …

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New coal ash hotline and video

The comment period for the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed coal ash safeguards is winding down, with the deadline being next Friday, Nov. 19. (Have you submitted your comment yet?) But just because the deadline is approaching does not mean we're slowing our action on coal ash. It's toxic and must be treated as such. That's why this week the Sierra Club opened a hotline to help residents report suspected contamination or spills of toxic coal ash across the country. Residents who believe there is toxic coal ash contamination near their homes either from an unreported spill or through leaking ash …

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Why is the U.S. helping finance fossil fuels overseas?

This post was co-written by Justin Guay of the Sierra Club International Climate Program. In a blog post this week, United States Export-Import Bank President Fred Hochberg paints a rosy picture of future trade relations between the United States and key emerging markets such as India and South Africa -- one which envisions a revamped American economy fueled by export trade that feeds a growing middle class. Yet despite this rhetoric, Ex-Im Bank is not only failing to finance a clean energy economy, but it is also saddling dynamic emerging markets with 19th century fuels by propping up an industry …

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Coal industry continues its shady practices

My colleague said it well yesterday in his response to Tuesday's election results -- we will not cede our future to polluters, who again poured tens of millions of dollars into various campaigns. No surprise here, the coal industry is part of those polluters throwing money around to support candidates who will keep the loopholes and handouts in place and help them block any action on global warming. According to an election spending report from the Center for American Progress: American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) has spent more than $16.3 million in 2010, including $3,005,540 on a national …

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Texas' Fight Against Coal and Coal Ash

This is the latest in our series of community coal ash profiles. This piece was written by Sierra Club Apprentice Sari Ancel. Here's lovely daydream if you're from southeast Texas: It's a warm fall afternoon and you're out fishing on the banks of the Colorado River, listening to the sounds of birds migrating south. Unfortunately, a proposed coal-fired power plant will soon ruin that daydream. There will be no fish to catch because their habitat has long been polluted. Those birds overhead will be flying through smoke plumes from the nearby coal-fired power plant. And forget a quiet afternoon, you'll …

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One More Thing to Worry About in Middle School – Energy Regulations?

Mary Anne Hitt, the director of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign, is a new mom and has some words for those trying to greenwash schoolkids and college students: As a new mom, I'm paying more attention these days to how big companies are trying to influence our kids. I just learned that one of the biggest blockers of climate action in the U.S. is now bringing its obstructionism to your kid's middle school classroom. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy just released an energy education guide for teachers of 5th - 8th grade. The guide …

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The Aftermath of the TVA Coal Ash Disaster

This is the latest in our series of community coal ash profiles. This was written by Sierra Club Apprentice Philip Hawes. Tennessee's Emory River has long been treasured for its natural beauty. In 1867, when a young man by the name of John Muir decided to walk from his home in Indiana, all the way to Florida, he crossed the Emory River. Its beauty struck him, and he wrote the following in his journal (which became his famed book "A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf"): "There is nothing more eloquent in Nature than a mountain stream, and this is the …

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