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.

New Solar Farm Shows Clean Energy Can Be Compatible with Conservation Values

Today the Sierra Club welcomes the Antelope Valley Solar Projects in California, one of the largest planned solar projects in the U.S., as developer SunPower and owner MidAmerican Solar marked the start of major construction. The Sierra Club endorsed the project early on because it was planned and sited in a way that protected local plants and wildlife. The project location was chosen in strict accordance with conservation values, seeking to avoid harming wildlife or building new infrastructure. The projects are located on previously disturbed private land that did not have any threatened and endangered species. Although the project site is …

Two More Victories in the Fight Against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

While the fight to end mountaintop removal coal mining is still far from over, we are celebrating today’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on a massive mountaintop removal project, the Spruce Mine. The court affirmed that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority under the Clean Water Act to veto mountaintop removal coal mining permits after they’ve been issued. This is a major milestone in the fight to end the destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining. The Spruce Mine – the focus of this case – was the largest mountaintop removal permit ever proposed …

Amazing Chicago Coal, Clean Air Activist Wins Goldman Environmental Prize

Every year the Goldman Environmental Prize committee selects an amazing group of winners from around the world to receive what is sometimes called the environmental Nobel prize – and I could not be more thrilled with their pick for North America this year: Kim Wasserman Nieto of Chicago, Illinois. Kim is a phenomenal environmental justice activist and mom from the Little Village neighborhood in Chicago. Her work with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) has been inspiring and ground-breaking. The Little Village community is primarily Latino, and is located next to one of the most notorious, polluting coal-fired power …

Moapa to Lead Powerful, Symbolic Walk from Coal to Clean Energy

The 2012 Moapa Band of Paiutes “Walk from Coal to Clean Energy.” Southern Nevada’s Moapa Band of Paiutes are organizing a 16-mile “Walk from Coal to Clean Energy” on April 20, 2013 in concert with Earth Day. This walk will celebrate the tribe’s efforts to retire the polluting Reid Gardner coal plant that adjoins their tribal lands, and also their success in developing the largest solar project on tribal lands in the nation, which will begin construction later this year. The walk will start at the coal plant and end at the solar site – a powerful symbol of change …

Fighting for Environmental Justice in Omaha

Ever since President Obama invited the American public to a national climate conversation, thousands of Americans have taken him up on that offer by participating in town hall meetings held by the Sierra Club and our allies. I’d like to highlight one of these events I found particularly powerful and worthy of more attention. North Omaha, Nebraska, is home to one of the dirtiest coal plants in the nation, the North Omaha coal plant operated by Omaha Public Power District. The NAACP ranked it the 16th worst environmental justice offender in the nation (although with recent coal plant closures and …

Protecting Northwest Communities from Coal Dust Pollution

This week, the Sierra Club, several Waterkeepers, and other allies in the Northwest filed legal action that put companies on notice for coal pollution coming off of trains and polluting the region. The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most spectacular, legendary waterways on the planet, such as the Columbia River Gorge and Puget Sound. Residents grow, eat, and export foods that are economic mainstays for the region and are prized around the world – from vegetables to wine to salmon. Yet the health and safety of the residents and this economy are threatened by proposed massive increases …

The EPA Must Protect Our Water From Coal Pollution

Here’s a pretty shocking fact: While many of us know that coal-fired power plants create significant air pollution, it turns out they’re one of our biggest water polluters, too. In fact, as we’ve developed technologies that take more toxins like mercury out of coal plant smokestacks, that pollution isn’t just disappearing. Much of it is ending up in the water, instead, and those pollution levels are on the rise. Fortunately, our Environmental Protection Agency can do something about it. That’s right – the same power plants that are causing asthma and heart attacks with their soot and wrecking our climate …

Celebrating a Huge Offshore Wind Victory in Maryland

The winds of change brought some great progress to Maryland this week when the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 passed through both houses of the legislature. The offshore wind bill has been championed from the start by Governor Martin O’Malley, who stands ready to sign the bill into law. This is a huge victory that is nationally significant for two reasons. First, it could well be the tipping point that allows us to finally tap the massive offshore wind potential off the East Coast. Second, it will ensure historically underrepresented minority groups and small businesses will benefit from …

Standing Up for Clean Water When States Won’t

Imagine that you’ve grown up in a beautiful, hilly countryside near many streams where you played and fished as a child. Now, years later, you can’t even let your own kids or grandkids play in those same waterways because of pollution from a nearby mountaintop-removal coal mine. Such is the reality for thousands of people living in small Appalachian communities across West Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky. “Mountaintop removal makes aquatic life sick; it makes people sick; and it destroys vital communities,” says Jim Sconyers, Sierra Club West Virginia chair. This week the Sierra Club joined the West Virginia Highlands …

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