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Mary Anne Hitt's Posts

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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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End the Coal for Carbon Credits Scandal

The Sierra Club and CDM-Watch first broke the coal for carbon credits scandal occurring at the United Nations offsetting mechanism (the Clean Development Mechanism CDM) associated with the Kyoto Protocol back in July. If you’re unfamiliar with CDM – here’s a definition from the UN: The CDM allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to a meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. The mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission …

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Another coal ash spill — this time in Lake Michigan

The We Energy Oak Creek Power Plant.Photo: JonnyfixedgearHow many more coal ash spills need to happen before Americans are protected by coal ash safeguards? The latest happened Monday in Oak Creek, Wis., at the We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant. Thankfully there were no injuries. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal: A large section of bluff collapsed Monday next to the We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant, sending dirt, coal ash and mud cascading into the shoreline next to Lake Michigan and dumping a pickup truck, dredging equipment, soil and other debris into the lake. The ridge was made of coal ash, and a We …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Coal

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Emboldened by Students Taking Action

Weight of the world got you down? Stressed out by visions of exploding mountains, warming planets, and mounting to-do lists? Me too. Thankfully, I had a major ray of hope recently that I would love to share with you, in the hopes that it will lift your spirits as much as it lifted mine. Yesterday, I had the great privilege of joining 30 youth clean energy leaders when they met with Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson at Howard University in Washington, DC. These students had come to DC as a culminating event in their campaign to hold 100 clean energy events …

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