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Mary Anne Hitt's Posts

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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 Now, state regulators have withdrawn the sweetheart coal ash violation settlements offered in previous years and instead have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step in to further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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The News Just Keeps Getting Worse for West Virginia (and It Doesn’t Stop There)

Earlier this week my West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said the following about whether people should be drinking the water in Charleston and downstream: "It's your decision....I'm not a scientist." For the 300,000 people affected by the coal chemical spill from two weeks ago, I bet that's very reassuring. Quite a profile in courage, our governor. Even less reassuring, the news came out Wednesday that there was another mysterious chemical spill in that leak, and officials are now testing to make sure the water treatment facility removed that chemical. And it gets worse - how about this article featuring …

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Recovery from WV Coal Chemical Spill Continues – What Next?

As a West Virginian, this has been a sad, frustrating, and infuriating time for me, though I do not live in the area affected by last week's coal chemical spill. More than 300,000 people in the WV capital of Charleston and downstream counties have been without water for eight days and counting. The chemical that spilled is used to process coal after it's mined, to separate the coal from other substances before it's carried away on trains or river barges. A tank of this chemical, located immediately above the largest drinking water intake in WV, leaked. Very little is known …

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