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Mary Anne Hitt's Posts

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Protecting Our Water from Coal Pollution

Think about this: Have you spent a day out on the water this summer? Swimming? Fishing? Boating? Well believe it or not, for decades, power plants have been allowed to dump toxic pollution into our nation's waterways, with almost no limits. Coal plants have become by far the largest source of toxic water pollution in the country! If you're like me and love to take your family swimming, fishing, and boating, you know how much is at stake. (Click the graphic at the left to see more details) Today the Sierra Club joined a coalition in releasing a report (PDF) …

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Activist Profile: National Christian Denomination Stands Against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

One of the best parts of my work is that I get to be inspired, every day, by the stories of people who are taking action – and taking leadership – to rein in coal pollution and move America to clean energy. Heather Moyer is one of those inspiring people, and she is also a writing partner with me on my columns every week. I’m so excited to hand the blog over to her today for a guest post, to share some great news about an important recent victory she lead in the struggle to end mountaintop removal coal mining. …

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Speaking Out for Clean Water Protections

Today was a great day for clean water. We saw more than 100 activists turn out at an Environmental Protection Agency public hearing to support strong water pollution standards. We heard personal stories of families living in the shadow of coal plants who have been directly affected by toxic water pollution from power plants.  We listened to community leaders from across the nation make moving, powerful requests of EPA to finalize strong, meaningful standards that will protect their health, their families, and their homes. Believe it or not, for decades, power plants have been allowed to dump toxic pollution into …

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It’s Past Time to Confirm EPA Chief Nominee Gina McCarthy

Patience is wearing thin. For more than three months, Gina McCarthy, President Obama's nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency has been stuck in limbo due to procedural stalling tactics in the Senate. That's why the Sierra Club has released two ads that target specific senators, asking them to be a part of the solution and support Gina McCarthy. The ads, released in Arizona and Ohio, call on supporters of clean air and water to contact their senators and ask them to end the gridlock in Washington by moving forward with Gina McCarthy's confirmation. Watch our Arizona and Ohio ads. Lack …

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What Obama’s Climate Announcement Means for Coal and Clean Energy

If you're reading this post, then you are part of the last generation of people who will have the chance to stop runaway climate disruption. Coal-fired power plants are the nation's single biggest source of the carbon pollution that threatens our kids' future, and today President Obama made an announcement that puts us a big step closer to turning the corner on climate change - and has big implications for coal and clean energy. Today, as the centerpiece of his roadmap for tackling the climate crisis, President Obama announced that the Environmental Protection Agency will issue carbon pollution standards for …

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Celebrating Solar Power in North Carolina

With all the controversial climate and clean energy legislation in North Carolina in the past year, one might be surprised to hear that the state ranks fifth in the U.S. in the amount of solar power installed in the first quarter of 2013. North Carolina is truly leading the way in the South when it comes to solar power, and so we were thrilled when the North Carolina Sierra Club was invited to celebrate with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory earlier this month when he declared June "Solar Energy Month" (that's our crew with Gov. McCrory in the above photo). …

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Maine Town Tells Coal Plant to Clean Up Its Act

Every week it seems like yet another small town gets fed up with the coal industry and demands action. This week's fantastic example comes from Eliot, Maine, where Tuesday night residents voted 906 to 560 to ask the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate dangerous sulfur dioxide pollution coming from the Schiller Station coal plant just across the border in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I recently blogged about the dangers of sulfur dioxide pollution:  Exposure to sulfur dioxide for even five minutes can trigger asthma attacks and respiratory distress - a serious problem for the more than 3,500 kids in York County, …

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Patriot Bankruptcy Puts Retired Miners in Life and Death Struggle

In my many years in Appalachia, I've worked, traveled, prayed, broken bread, and raised a glass with a good many retired coal miners. I know that, in retirement, they are still paying heavily for their decades of work in the mines - you can hear it in their shortness of breath, you can see it as they struggle with painful backs and knees and other legacies of long-ago injuries, and you can feel it when they tell you how grateful they are for this time in the fresh air with their families, homes and the simple pleasures of a well-deserved …

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Big Win in Nevada on Clean Energy, Retiring Dirty Coal Power

There is big news out of Nevada that will echo around the nation. Late Monday night the Nevada Assembly passed a bill clearing the path to retire the polluting Reid Gardner coal plant. The bipartisan bill is now headed for an expected signature from Governor Brian Sandoval. For the Moapa Band of Paiutes and so many others in Nevada, today is a time for major celebration. Under Senate Bill 123, which is called the "NVision" plan, the Reid Gardner coal plant will retire earlier than planned – closing units 1-3 in 2014 instead of 2020, and unit 4 in 2017 …

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A Big Win for Clean Air in Pennsylvania – and Nationwide!

Coal pollution contains all sorts of nasty, dangerous things, but one of the worst pollutants is sulfur dioxide. Just five minutes of exposure to sulfur dioxide can lead to respiratory problems, difficulty breathing, and contribute to lung disease. So you can imagine the sigh of relief from Pennsylvanians with this major news: The Homer City Generating Station -- the largest source of sulfur dioxide pollution in the U.S. in 2010 - will now be subject to new, strong limits for this particularly dangerous pollutant. Up until now, only one of the coal plant's boilers had any ability to limit sulfur …

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