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Mary Anne Hitt's Posts

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Time for Congress to Act and Save Clean Energy Jobs

Today, the US Senate is casting a vote critical to the future of the U.S. wind industry. Wind power has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, and the wind industry now employs more than 80,000 Americans and generates enough electricity to power 15 million homes. Wind is providing affordable, reliable electricity from coast to coast - in 2013 Iowa got 27 percent of its electricity from wind power, while South Dakota got 26 percent. Despite this momentum, wind power's full potential continues to rest in the hands of members of Congress, including some with close ties to fossil …

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“Inhaling Ozone Is Like Getting a Sunburn On Your Lungs,” and Other Reasons For Strong Smog Pollution Standards

I can only imagine the fear that must grip a parent when their child suffers an asthma attack, and I can only imagine how much time and energy they spend doing everything they can to avoid triggers for these potentially deadly attacks. A major trigger is smog pollution - also known as ground-level ozone. When smog is inhaled, the harm it does has been likened to getting a sunburn on your lungs, and these asthma attacks send tens of thousands of kids to the emergency room every year. Kids and seniors are especially at risk from smog pollution. This is …

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North Carolinians Want Coal Ash Safeguards Now

The controversy continues almost two months after a Duke Energy spill of toxic coal ash into the Dan River. First, the Waterkeeper Alliance discovered Duke Energy dumping some 61 million gallons of coal ash wastewater into yet another waterway - the Cape Fear River. Duke Energy has been cited eight times since the Feb. 2 Dan River spill! Now, state regulators have withdrawn the sweetheart coal ash violation settlements offered in previous years and instead have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step in to further investigate coal ash violations. Today we released a poll showing that these inexcusable …

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Victory in Georgia: Students Continue to Make Progress Against Campus Coal Plants

I am thrilled for students at the University of Georgia: After more than four years of campaigning, gathering more than 5,000 signatures and 100 faculty endorsements, and a slew of community and campus events, the UGA Beyond Coal Campaign is seeing some serious results. Last week the UGA administration announced that the campus coal boiler will be replaced! Students at UGA were among the first to bring the Campuses Beyond Coal Campaign to their campus. Their movement started with just a few students in the Fall of 2009 and grew exponentially, so much that hundreds of students, faculty and community …

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Agencies Dodge Responsibility for Human Cost of Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining

This week, we got some disappointing news - a judge ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers isn't responsible for considering the health effects of coal pollution when it issues permits to fill valleys with rubble from mountaintop-removal coal mines. As Appalachian residents continue to suffer every year from well-documented health problems linked to mountaintop removal, this decision highlights a deadly loophole that requires long-overdue action from the White House and Congress. Responsibility is a tricky thing. In our daily lives we work to be conscientious of our bills, our taxes, our family lives and a myriad of other duties …

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Our Last Coal Ash Spill: No More Delays for Coal Water Pollution Protections

Last week, security guards at Duke Energy's Charlotte headquarters blocked me from delivering 9,000 petitions signed by Duke customers calling on the company to clean up its toxic coal ash, in the wake of a spill that decimated 70 miles of the Dan River. It was the culmination of a dramatic rally that shone a glaring spotlight on one company’s reckless pollution practices, and the urgent need for the Environmental Protection Agency to finally close coal water pollution loopholes, without delay. After keeping the crowd waiting for 45 tense minutes, a Duke spokesperson finally accepted our petitions. You'd think Duke …

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New Poll, Rally Show WV, NC and Beyond are Fed Up With Coal Industry’s Pollution

West Virginians hold the coal industry responsible for air and water contamination in the state, and they are tired of the stranglehold they believe the industry's lobbyists have on state politics. That's just one of many powerful findings of a new poll out today about the aftermath of the January coal chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia. The Sierra Club and Hart Research Associates polled West Virginia voters, and look at the results: 1) West Virginians do not view the January coal chemical spill as an isolated incident - 69 percent think the spill was a result of companies acting …

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Enough is Enough: Coal Pollution Spills Reveal a Water Safety Crisis

When it comes to rivers and clean, safe water, you don't know what you've got until it's gone. Hundreds of thousands of people have learned that the hard way over recent weeks, after a dangerous coal chemical spilled into the Elk River in West Virginia's capitol city, and then toxic coal ash from a retired Duke Energy power plant spilled into North Carolina’s Dan River (and now there's yet another coal slurry spill in WV). In the wake of these disasters, frightened  families have been faced with a sobering reality – the state agencies they were counting on to keep …

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New Poll: Americans Ready for Action on Carbon Pollution

Public hearing in Washington, DC, Thursday will be packed with supporters This week we once again heard the call for action from Americans loud and clear: They want clean energy and they want it right away. On Tuesday the Sierra Club released a new poll with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research showing that seven-in-ten Americans favor the Environmental Protection Agency putting limits on the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can release. And that's not the only amazing statistic from the poll. Just look at the key findings: By nearly a 2-to-1 margin, voters think the country should be investing …

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At Last! EPA Required to Finish Coal Ash Safeguards

Late Wednesday we saw a victory for clean water and public health: The Sierra Club is pleased to be a part of a legal agreement with 11 organizations compelling the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize safeguards against coal ash pollution by the end of this year. EPA first proposed these standards in 2010, and they have been mired in red tape ever since. If the final protections are strong, getting them over the finish line will be a major victory for public health, safe communities, and clean water. Coal ash is the toxic by-product left over when coal is …

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