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Mary Anne Hitt's Posts

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Powerful New Series Reveals the True Cost of Coal

The first time I watched this is powerful new video, it stopped me in my tracks. It's the debut video for our latest project, a photo series from Sierra magazine called "The Cost of Coal." I think you'll agree -- the stories and images of these families who are facing the loss of their homes, loved ones, and lives to coal pollution are unforgettable. And while I was especially moved by the images from my home state of West Virginia, the real tragedy is that stories like these are being repeated across our nation. The Cost of Coal is new …

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LA Chooses Clean Energy Over Coal

This week, we won a major victory when the Los Angeles City Council approved the L.A. Department of Water and Power's plan to invest in clean energy, rather than continue to ship customer’s money out of state to buy coal (LA shipped $500 million out of state last year alone). This move will create more than 5,000 jobs in energy efficiency and rooftop solar and boost the local economy. At a time when so many cities are struggling with crumbling infrastructure and stretched budgets, it is heartening to see LA chart a bold new course in order to meet its …

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Notorious Northern Virginia coal plant officially retires

On a scorching hot day last July, I stood on the deck of a boat on the Potomac River and introduced Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and mayor of New York City, who was there to announce a game-changing gift to the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. Behind us was the notorious, polluting Potomac River coal plant in Alexandria, Virginia, which the community and elected officials had been trying to retire for years.

Yesterday was finally the last day of operations for the Potomac River coal plant.

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New Wind Farm is Nation’s Largest; Means More Clean Energy, Jobs

This past weekend marked the opening of the largest wind farm in the U.S. -- a site that will power 235,000 homes. The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm near Arlington, Oregon, is a just the latest example of our nation's clean energy industry powering our homes, businesses, and economy. Work on the Shepherds Flat project began in 2009 and brought with it more than 400 construction jobs. The Shepherds Flat project will continue to provide 45 full-time jobs for Oregon's Gilliam and Morrow Counties, in addition to agricultural jobs which will continue on the farmland at the project site. The cherry …

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Republican Coal Bill: Just Another Attack on Public Health Protections

Not satisfied with already being known as the most anti-environmental House of Representatives in history, this week House Republicans are again attempting to gut fundamental health and environmental laws to please polluters -- specifically, the coal industry. In a new package of bills, House leadership is taking aim at a staggering array of basic laws that hold polluters accountable and ensure Americans have access to clean air and drinkable water; it fundamentally weakens the Clean Air Act and eviscerates the protections of the Clean Water Act. It will increase disease and deaths of tens of thousands of Americans, not to …

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The mountains weep for Larry Gibson

"Hey buddy!" Like so many others, I always got this warm greeting from Larry Gibson, followed by a big hug. Like so many others, I saw mountaintop removal coal mining with my own eyes for the first time on Larry's mountain in southern West Virginia, Kayford Mountain, and I've been fighting to end the devastation ever since. Like so many others, I then took countless more people up to Kayford with me: reporters, national environmental leaders, film crews, students and many, many others. And to every person he took up Kayford Mountain, Larry would say that if he or she …

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International Agencies Using Flawed Data to Fast-Track Kosovo Coal Plant, Put Health At Risk

While no new coal plants have broken ground here in the US since 2008, the US government is backing a huge, polluting new coal plant oversees. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Bank are pushing a heavily polluting, costly, and controversial new coal plant in Kosovo. As if that weren’t bad enough, new documents obtained by the Sierra Club under the Freedom of Information Act reveal they are using inaccurate and unreliable data in order to ensure the plant is fast-tracked. They are cutting corners and recklessly endangering the health of Kosovar citizens and it’s time this …

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Moving the Kentucky Wildcats Beyond Coal

This week, I spoke at the University of Kentucky, home to a polluting coal plant, lots of coal industry money, and a student body hungry to move beyond coal and embrace a clean energy future. Many of us look to colleges and universities as pioneers of new technology and innovation, where a new generation learns and leads. That's definitely what I saw this week on the beautiful campus of the University of Kentucky. UK students want their school to be a leader, too, but unfortunately the campus remains stuck in the past due to their ties to coal. They know …

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King Coal’s Road to Nowhere: the Coalfields Expressway

A mountaintop removal coal mining site in Fork Ridge, Virginia. Photo courtesy of SouthWings and Appalachian Voices. In the tranquil, misty mountains of southwest Virginia, the coal industry is trying to build its very own road to nowhere. King Coal's latest scheme is to try and take $2 billion of federal funds -- our tax dollars -- to build the Coalfields Expressway through rural Southwest Virginia. Coal companies plan to use mountaintop removal mining to flatten the area to make way for the road, while they keep the profits from the coal they extract. While the coal companies call it …

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Life-Saving Cross-State Air Pollution Protections in Jeopardy After Court Ruling

Today, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution protection (PDF), which sought to protect Americans from dangerous air pollution from coal-fired power plants. The protection would have reduced life-threatening soot and smog pollution from power plants in 28 states and helped curb poor air quality days and respiratory illnesses that affect millions of Americans. We are all disappointed with the court's decision today. Americans have been waiting for the clean air they deserve for decades, and the court's ruling today further delays the Clean Air Act's promise of safe, breathable air for our children. …

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