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Mary Anne Hitt's Posts

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Celebrating the 1,000th Sierra Club Solar Home

It's been more than two years since my husband and I installed solar panels on the roof of our home in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. As the months have passed, I've enjoyed watching the ticker continually rise on the amount of solar power our panels have generated. I love knowing that our home is more powered by the sun, and less by dirty coal mined by blowing up the beautiful mountains in Appalachia. And across the U.S, I'm not alone! Rooftop solar power is expanding exponentially, and the Sierra Club just celebrated our 1,000th solar home as part of our Solar …

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150 Plants Retired: Another Major Milestone Hit in Moving Beyond Coal

Today, the Sierra Club and a growing coalition of over 100 allies announced the retirement of the nation's 150th coal plant. This is a huge milestone in the ongoing campaign to move the country beyond coal by 2030. Meet retiring coal plant #150: Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Massachusetts. It's a massive 1,500 megawatt plant that is the largest remaining coal plant in New England, and it's one of the biggest polluters in the state. We can breathe easier knowing that yet another dirty coal plant will retire its massive air pollution. According to the Clean Air Task Force, …

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Tar Heels Continue to Pressure School to Divest

If you're like me, you're looking for some positive news as the government shutdown and stalemate continues to affect millions of Americans. Let me help - check out the inspiring students of the University of North Carolina Beyond Coal team. Recently, after two years of pressure, the UNC Board of Trustees' Finance and Infrastructure Committee agreed to meet with these hard-working students to discuss moving the school's $2.1 billion endowment out of the coal industry and into clean energy (that's them at the meeting above). By the time October 25th arrived, the buzz around this meeting had reached a peak …

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Wendell Berry and Bill Moyers to Talk Coal, Climate This Week on PBS

Beginning October 4, PBS will air a special conversation between two of the people I admire most in the world - Kentucky farmer and author Wendell Berry, and journalist Bill Moyers. Among many other topics, these two giants of American culture will discuss issues very close to my heart: coal, climate change, and the future of Appalachia and the planet. I can't wait to tune in to Wendell Berry: Poet & Prophet. I hope you will, too. I've been a reader of Wendell Berry since I was a young woman, because he was a beloved author of two of my …

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Big Clean Energy News Just Keeps Coming: “Solar is Most Economical Option,” Says Energy CEO

On the heels of last week's release of carbon pollution safeguards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which requires future power plants to deal with their climate-disrupting carbon pollution, news is rolling in from across the U.S. about massive new clean energy projects that are meeting America's energy demand – and giving dirty fossil fuels a run for their money in the marketplace. This week Xcel Energy announced it will triple the amount of solar power it offers while also adding another 450 megawatts of wind power. Here’s the best part -- they're investing in clean energy because it's the …

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What the New Power Plant Carbon Standard Means for Coal

In the words of our Vice-President, this is a BFD. On Friday, September 20, the Environmental Protection Agency released draft carbon pollution standards for new power plants. If finalized as written, the draft will make it impossible to build a new, conventional, climate-destroying coal plant in the U.S. With climate-related disasters already landing on the doorsteps of millions of Americans, from Western wildfires to Superstorm Sandy, this new protection comes as welcome news. As I wrote earlier this week, despite much whining by the coal industry, the simple fact is that no one is building new coal plants anymore. A …

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Protecting Americans from Power Plant Pollution

On September 20, the Environmental Protection Agency will release new safeguards against carbon pollution that, if expectations are on target, will confirm something investors, governors, community leaders, and everyday Americans have been saying for a decade - in the 21st century, it just doesn't make sense to build new coal-fired power plants. To be specific, we've said that 179 times. Since 2002, an unprecedented national network of more than 100 organizations and tens of thousands of volunteers has stopped the construction of 179 proposed coal-fired power plants across the U.S. This happened in red states and blue states, under the …

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Kentucky’s Coal Challenges – Public Health, Clean Water, and Clean Air

Guest column by Heather Moyer, Sierra Club This week's column focuses on some big coal-related news items out of the Bluegrass State, where some inspiring Beyond Coal activists are making waves. First, some good news: In a victory for clean water and public health, late yesterday a Kentucky circuit court overruled a lax permit that allowed Louisville Gas and Electric (LG&E) to dump large amounts of mercury, arsenic  and other pollutants into the Ohio River from its Trimble County Generating Station coal-fired plant. That good decision news comes along with a bad one: A Kentucky judge just ruled that a …

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“Everything is Connected” – The People vs. Coal Exports in the Northwest

In recent days, there were new developments in the fight against Northwest coal exports that stopped me in my tracks. Last week, the news broke that the official review of the largest proposed coal export terminal in Washington State will be unprecedented in scope, and will include not only the health and environmental effects of the project, but also the climate impacts of burning the coal in Asia. This announcement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and Whatcom County comes after a blockbuster comment period on the project, where 10,000 people attended standing-room-only …

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UGA Students, Community Take a Stand Against Campus Coal

Nationwide, college students continue to take the lead on climate action. From leading divestment campaigns, to urging their schools to move beyond dirty fuels, this generation of students is full of truly inspiring leaders. This week was no different down at the University of Georgia, where close to 50 UGA students, alumni, and local community members packed a public hearing on the school's on-campus coal-fired boiler. "For four years, students at UGA have been asking the administration to be a leader in clean energy development and retire the outdated on-campus coal-fired steam boiler that threatens our health," said David Littman, …

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