Bruce Nilles

Bruce Nilles is the Deputy Conservation Director of the Sierra Club and former director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, the largest component of Sierra Club's new Climate Recovery Partnerships. The Beyond Coal Campaign is working to reduce America's over reliance on coal, slash coal's contribution to global warming and other pollution woes, end destructive mining, and secure massive investments in clean energy alternatives. Bruce joined the Sierra Club in 2002. He previously worked as a staff attorney for Earthjustice's San Francisco office, and during the Clinton Administration as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division in Washington D.C. He received his J.D. and B.S. degrees from the University of Wisconsin.

UNC Decides to Move Beyond Coal; Plus Bonus Coal Ash News

Great news out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Today the University of North Carolina (UNC) announced that burning coal has no place in our clean energy future and is transitioning away from using pollution-rich coal power to power this nationally-ranked university. I attended the press with UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp as he outlined how they were going to start testing alternative fuels and phasing in alternatives as fast as possible, and end coal use altogether no later than 2020.  I was also joined at the press conference by Stewart Boss, one of the student leaders of the Coal-Free UNC Campaign. …

Great Coal Debate had some false information

Peabody Energy exec misleads during coal debate

Last night I debated the role of coal in our country’s energy future with Peabody Energy VP of Government Relations Fred Palmer on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. The debate took place in front of more than 500 students and community members at Graham Chapel on campus, and was watched live online by nearly 4,700 additional interested observers. Here are four minutes of highlights: If you want to watch the full debate, click here. The debate was a great conversation about the dangers presented by coal and there was frank dialogue between Mr. Palmer and I about …

Earth Day: Profiling Coal's Eco Heroes

As we remember the first Earth Day happening 40 years ago, it’s also worth spending some time today thinking about our eco heroes, too. I thought I’d spend my post today talking about two fantastic women who are hard-working green heroes in the coal movement. Susan Holmes is behind the group Bokoshe Environmental Cause Group, or “BE Cause,” a small but mighty environmental action group in Bokoshe, Oklahoma. She came together with some fellow residents when the nearby Shady Point I coal-fired power plant and coal fly ash dump proposed adding a second dump site. According to BE Cause, building …

Tar Sands Pipeline Environmental Review is Flawed

Since our Beyond Coal Campaign is also committed to fighting dirty fuels such as liquid coal, we’re just as committed to stopping the latest dirty fuel threat: tar sands. Tar sands is a thick, black dirt derived from the soil under the great forests of Canada, which energy companies are turning it into oil – and now there’s a push for the U.S. to import it. Late last Friday saw the Department of State released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a massive pipeline designed to carry tar sands oil from Canada into the U.S. We’ve had a chance …

Coal-fired criticism and denial

Coal execs get slammed in House hearing

Several coal industry executives withstood some heat today during a hearing before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “The Role of Coal in a New Energy Age” hearing featured a slate of four speakers who attempted to defend their industries — with one denying anthropogenic global warming -as part of the clean energy future of the U.S.: Gregory Boyce, President and CEO, Peabody Energy Corporation Steven F. Leer, Chairman and CEO, Arch Coal, Inc. Preston Chiaro, Chief Executive for Energy and Minerals, Rio Tinto Michael Carey, President, Ohio Coal Association We had some folks tweeting from …

U.S. Abstains, South Africa Gets Burned

World Bank vote gives billions to coal

It's bad news for clean energy and our planet today, as the United States failed to follow its own global warming guidelines. The World Bank today approved a $3.75 billion loan to South African power utility Eskom to help build a 4,800 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Medupi. The funding would also facilitate plans for a second large coal plant in Kusile. The coal plants will be among the largest and most polluting worldwide.

There's an App for Crap

Coal industry unveils disturbing iPhone application

We’ve had some disturbing news come to us from the coal industry. It’s appropriate that it comes to us on April Fool’s Day, as it is a coal industry iPhone application that is designed to fool the American public about the devastating cost of coal. Watch this video from our Executive Director Michael Brune to learn more. While this iPhone app is a bit shocking, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised coming from an industry that, besides the coal carolers and the coal coloring books, also unveiled pro-coal cell phone ringtones last year. (We gave those ringtones a reality check …

How the West is Winning Against Coal

There is so much good news coming out of the western U.S. these days on coal and clean energy. First up – another domino fell for the Blackstone Group. Blackstone had been funding the construction of three new coal-fired power plants in the U.S. (I’ve written about them before). Last month the River Hill plant in Pennsylvania was canceled – and now this week we saw the plans for Toquop change in a major way: Blackstone subsidiary Sithe Global announced they will now build the plant as “a 750-megawatt gas plant with a 100-mw photovoltaic solar plant.” This will create …

Stop Government Funding of Coal

This post was co-written by Mark Kresowik, Corporate Accountability and Finance Representative for the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign. “How good will the business judgment of companies that make high-carbon choices now look in five, 10, 20 years, when it becomes clear that heavily polluting infrastructure has become deadly and must be phased out before the end of its useful life?” - Todd Stern, U.S. State Department Special Envoy on Climate Change This is the quote we have on our Beyond Coal Corporate Accountability and Finance page because it sums up the problem with funding coal plants. The only thing …

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