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Mary Anne Hitt's Posts

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Why is the State Dept. pushing coal on a tiny Eastern European country?

Co-written by Justin Guay of the Sierra Club International Program.

That’s the question we have been asking the U.S. government over and over, after discovering their steadfast support for plans to build an extremely expensive, extremely dirty coal plant in Kosovo. We first sounded the alarm over this project months ago, and despite essentially admitting that our concerns are valid, the State Dept. and the World Bank are recklessly pushing forward a plan to leave the tiny country saddled with a heavily polluting new coal plant, along with unsustainable levels of debt, at a time when the EU’s debt crisis threatens the global economy.

So how do we know the project is so bad? We commissioned expert analysis from a former chief Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcement officer who found glaring flaws (check out our initial analysis here [PDF]) in the project design.

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North Carolina gets great clean air news

Great clean air news out of North Carolina today - the Sierra Club and four of our key allies are announcing a settlement that will retire 1,600-megawatts of dirty coal power. North Carolina has long been a clean air leader, from passing the landmark Clean Smokestacks Act a decade ago, which requires all coal plants in the state to install pollution controls, to taking legal action calling on neighboring states to clean up the coal pollution blowing into the Tarheel State. From the Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, the people of North Carolina are passionate about clean air. As …

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Forecast for 2012: More sun and wind

One house with solar panels can lead to another, and another ...Photo: Mike LinksvayerWhen my husband and I decided to put solar panels on our West Virginia home last year, we thought we might make some waves in our small town, since we would be the first family in the historic district to go solar. Well, it turns out we were right -- the panels quickly increased our profile in many ways. Not only have we produced 2 megawatts (MW) of solar energy (often producing more than we use and therefore feeding back into the grid to power our neighbors' …

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A Clean Air Christmas: Another Beyond Coal Victory to Close the Year!

Well, we certainly are closing out this year with lots of good news to report. Today, the Sierra Club and Audubon are announcing a legal settlement with American Electric Power/Southwestern Electric Power Company (AEP/SWEPCO) that will retire a dirty coal plant and bring us lots of new clean energy. If all you wanted for Christmas this year was clean air, then you are in luck! The deal will retire Welsh 2, a dirty coal plant upwind of Arkansas in northeastern Texas. It requires AEP to install 400 MW of clean energy – the equivalent of a medium-sized coal plant. It …

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We Did It! Americans Cheer EPA for First-Ever Protections Against Toxic Mercury

Are you one of the over 800,000 people who submitted a comment to the Environmental Protection Agency supporting proposed mercury pollution protections? Are you one of the hundreds who attended a public hearing in Chicago, Atlanta, or Philadelphia to support the draft standards? Are you one of the hundreds who attended a hair testing event to check your mercury levels, organized a stroller brigade with fellow parents, or joined a rally to get these protections across the finish line? If so, then today you should celebrate, because you helped win a historic victory for our health. Today we are all …

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Major coal vctory: LS Power agrees to abandon two coal projects, invest in solar

Today, the Sierra Club is celebrating a landmark victory that was a long time coming. We have reached a settlement with LS Power to cancel their plans to build two new coal plants -- the Longleaf plant in Georgia, and the Plum Point 2 plant in Arkansas. These two coal plants are Nos. 160 and 161 on the growing list of new coal plants defeated by the Sierra Club and our allies since 2002. These are two more nails in the coffin of a rush to build new coal plants that we have fought for a decade, and that is …

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Recent Coal to Clean Energy Victories Worth Celebrating

This week we're celebrating as more utilities are recognizing that coal is dirty and expensive, and are deciding to make the switch to clean energy. Earlier this week, Wisconsin's Dairyland Power Cooperative announced that it will cease burning coal in three of the six units at its Alma Station by the end of the month. This news comes as Dairyland plans to make new investments in low cost clean energy, and adds momentum to a national trend – moving the United States from dirty coal power to clean energy. Last year, these three Alma units burned 13,915 tons of coal.  With Dairyland's …

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Is one of the top U.S. mercury polluters in your backyard?

I just came back from a trip to Illinois, where the state had the good sense to put mercury protections in place for coal-fired power plants back in 2006. Unfortunately, here in West Virginia and in most other states, there are no mercury protections in place whatsoever, because the coal lobby has spent the last two decades blocking federal mercury standards for coal plants. So mercury rains down on the rest of us, while residents of a handful of states enjoy strong mercury protections. Today, a new report names the top mercury polluters in the country, and you should check …

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A coal strip mine next to a national park?

When I think of Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park, I envision its beautiful rock spires (also known as "hoodoos") reaching into the sky. I think of it as an amazing place to visit and hike, one of our country's beautiful national parks famous for its stunning vistas, and for its unique plants and animals. It's a place I’d love to take my young daughter someday, to show her the wonders of our Western landscapes. The last thing I think of is a dirty coal mine. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is getting ready to open more than 3,500 …

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Another Congressional Attack on Clean Air

Why should you care about the Cross State Air Pollution Rule? Because it could save your life, or the life of someone you love. Congress is continuing its attacks on clean air this week, and the latest target in their crosshairs is the life-saving Cross State Air Pollution Rule. This clean air safeguard would require 27 states in the eastern half of the United States to improve air quality by addressing dangerous pollution from coal-fired power plants that crosses state lines. It is an update of a system that has been in place in the eastern US for decades and …

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