Mary Anne Hitt

Mary Anne Hitt is director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, which is working to eliminate coal's contribution to global warming and repower the nation with clean energy.

New Wind Farm is Nation’s Largest; Means More Clean Energy, Jobs

This past weekend marked the opening of the largest wind farm in the U.S. — a site that will power 235,000 homes. The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm near Arlington, Oregon, is a just the latest example of our nation’s clean energy industry powering our homes, businesses, and economy. Work on the Shepherds Flat project began in 2009 and brought with it more than 400 construction jobs. The Shepherds Flat project will continue to provide 45 full-time jobs for Oregon’s Gilliam and Morrow Counties, in addition to agricultural jobs which will continue on the farmland at the project site. The cherry …

Republican Coal Bill: Just Another Attack on Public Health Protections

Not satisfied with already being known as the most anti-environmental House of Representatives in history, this week House Republicans are again attempting to gut fundamental health and environmental laws to please polluters — specifically, the coal industry. In a new package of bills, House leadership is taking aim at a staggering array of basic laws that hold polluters accountable and ensure Americans have access to clean air and drinkable water; it fundamentally weakens the Clean Air Act and eviscerates the protections of the Clean Water Act. It will increase disease and deaths of tens of thousands of Americans, not to …

The mountains weep for Larry Gibson

“Hey buddy!” Like so many others, I always got this warm greeting from Larry Gibson, followed by a big hug. Like so many others, I saw mountaintop removal coal mining with my own eyes for the first time on Larry’s mountain in southern West Virginia, Kayford Mountain, and I’ve been fighting to end the devastation ever since. Like so many others, I then took countless more people up to Kayford with me: reporters, national environmental leaders, film crews, students and many, many others. And to every person he took up Kayford Mountain, Larry would say that if he or she …

International Agencies Using Flawed Data to Fast-Track Kosovo Coal Plant, Put Health At Risk

While no new coal plants have broken ground here in the US since 2008, the US government is backing a huge, polluting new coal plant oversees. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Bank are pushing a heavily polluting, costly, and controversial new coal plant in Kosovo. As if that weren’t bad enough, new documents obtained by the Sierra Club under the Freedom of Information Act reveal they are using inaccurate and unreliable data in order to ensure the plant is fast-tracked. They are cutting corners and recklessly endangering the health of Kosovar citizens and it’s time this …

Moving the Kentucky Wildcats Beyond Coal

This week, I spoke at the University of Kentucky, home to a polluting coal plant, lots of coal industry money, and a student body hungry to move beyond coal and embrace a clean energy future. Many of us look to colleges and universities as pioneers of new technology and innovation, where a new generation learns and leads. That’s definitely what I saw this week on the beautiful campus of the University of Kentucky. UK students want their school to be a leader, too, but unfortunately the campus remains stuck in the past due to their ties to coal. They know …

King Coal’s Road to Nowhere: the Coalfields Expressway

In the tranquil, misty mountains of southwest Virginia, the coal industry is trying to build its very own road to nowhere. King Coal’s latest scheme is to try and take $2 billion of federal funds — our tax dollars — to build the Coalfields Expressway through rural Southwest Virginia. Coal companies plan to use mountaintop removal mining to flatten the area to make way for the road, while they keep the profits from the coal they extract. While the coal companies call it a road, local residents are calling it a taxpayer financed strip mine. Virginians aren’t taking this news …

Life-Saving Cross-State Air Pollution Protections in Jeopardy After Court Ruling

Today, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution protection (PDF), which sought to protect Americans from dangerous air pollution from coal-fired power plants. The protection would have reduced life-threatening soot and smog pollution from power plants in 28 states and helped curb poor air quality days and respiratory illnesses that affect millions of Americans. We are all disappointed with the court’s decision today. Americans have been waiting for the clean air they deserve for decades, and the court’s ruling today further delays the Clean Air Act’s promise of safe, breathable air for our children. …

Our Challenge to TVA: Will You Live Up to Your Values and Save Money and Lives with Energy Efficiency?

This week, the Sierra Club presented a new report to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board of directors that charts a course for TVA to a clean energy future. The report, prepared by Synapse Energy Economics and commissioned by the Sierra Club, reveals that TVA can lower ratepayer bills every month for decades and clean up the air across the eastern US by investing in energy efficiency, rather than in retrofits for their most polluting coal plants. I grew up in the Tennessee Valley, and I know that this will come as welcome news to the millions of residents in …

Climate & Energy

Drink it in: Local residents score big wins for clean water

An infamous coal ash dump in West Virginia will close, and two other proposed mines will not be built -- all thanks to committed local volunteers.