Mary Anne Hitt

Mary Anne Hitt is director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, which is working to eliminate coal's contribution to global warming and repower the nation with clean energy.

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). …

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, …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Big New Investments in Wind Energy Across the Country and Around the World

After spending last weekend at the Heartland Coalfield Alliance’s retreat in the Illinois coal basin region, I’m more inspired than ever. Listening to such amazing, committed people talk about their tireless work to move beyond coal was really exciting. These activists know the potential for clean energy in their region — especially wind power. And there has been some blockbuster news about wind in recent days. Wind power is growing like gangbusters across the country, and employs more than 75,000 workers across 43 states. Just last week, Warren Buffett’s Mid-American Energy Co. announced it will make a $1.9 billion investment …

Minnesota’s Landmark Clean Energy Standard Charts Course Beyond Dirty Energy

Minnesota energy has begun a new chapter. Minnesota has taken a first step in outlining the next big leap forward in the state’s sustainable energy future. Pushed by more than 60 environmental, labor, business, youth, and faith groups, the jobs omnibus bill — expected to be signed by Governor Mark Dayton — includes a Clean Energy and Jobs package that sets a standard of 1.5 percent solar by 2020 with a broader goal of reaching 10 percent by 2030. This is a great start for a state that is in position to lead the Midwest into the clean-energy economy. I remember …

Appalachian Families Denied Clean Water Travel to Washington to Demand Action

Appalachian activists gather outside the Washington, D.C., Environmental Protection Agency office to demand an end to mountaintop removal coal mining. Elaine Tanner and her partner Jimmy Hall have both experienced, up close and personal, the destruction caused by mountaintop removal coal mining. The Kentucky natives are fighting a coal company they claim poisoned their well water. One of the company’s mountaintop removal sites is right next to their home in Letcher County. “They destroyed our water,” said Jimmy. “The Kentucky Department of Water tested the water of many wells in our area and found a toxic soup. They said the …

More Than One Million Actions for Climate and Clean Energy in 100 Days

This week marked six months since Superstorm Sandy, and it was also the end of our 100 Days of Action for Climate and Clean Energy, which we kicked off when President Obama began his second term. In those 100 days, more than one million Americans from across the country attended large-scale rallies and local events, signed petitions, sent letters to decision-makers and used social media to engage friends and neighbors in fighting climate disruption. I’ll let Aura Vasquez, a fantastic Beyond Coal organizer in Los Angeles, tell you more in this great video about the 100 days of action. Of …

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