24
NOV
2017

Can There Be Such A Thing As Good News About Coal?

I’ve run into several of you recently and heard the comment that I haven’t written an article in some time.  Actually, it’s been almost two months.  It’s not for a lack of material.  Just been busy.  So, I’m back now for a while before an extended vacation over the holidays.  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday.  I know that there is a great deal of social anxiety now but we nevertheless have a lot for which to be thankful.  Not the least of which is the right to speak up and speak out and fight for the values and policies in which we so strongly believe.  

And for me, and you too I hope, I am so grateful for my close knit family. Here’s a recent portrait that the kids arranged to have taken.

 Family Portrait by Bart Edited

Now, let’s get on to the topic.  Coal, clean air, healthy breathing, climate change…

Despite a deteriorating federal imperative to do what is good for the health of citizens of the U.S. and the world to clean the air in order to create healthier air quality to breathe for animals and humans alike, progress continues not only unabated, but at an accelerating pace.  The Sierra Club, along with our allies, have changed the paradigm on energy and even many in the energy industries are beginning to redirect their thinking and investments more towards renewable energy.  

What follows is a summary and some details of what is happening.  In these times of challenge and despair, this is something from which to take heart and be Thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend.  

 

“Today with the news that two of our long-targeted and massive coal plants in TX were closing, we are officially at half of the US coal plants that were operating in 2010 are now either retired or announced to retire.  Many thought this was crazy – it was 3-4 times more than any economic models said were possible.  But their models lacked an advocacy dial – and with 100+ partner strong coalition and the best staff and volunteers on the frontlines – we have ensured the US continues to lead the world in cutting coal use, thereby saving lives and give us a fighting chance of preventing the worst impacts of climate change.  And we are doing it faster under Trump than under Obama.”

Sierra Club Retirement Stats on October 11, 2017

A cool 42MW of Coal Retired/Announced for Each of the 2,840 Days Since January 1, 2010.

Since Start of Campaign (2,840 days between Jan 1, 2010 – October 11, 2017)

  • 119,417 MW Proposed or retired OR 42 MW proposed or retired every day since start of campaign

  • 732 Units proposed or retired OR A coal unit proposed or retired every 4 days since start of campaign

  • 259 Units proposed or retired OR A coal plant proposed or retired every 11 days since start of campaign

 

Since Election Day (337 days between Nov 8 2016 – October 11, 2017)

  • 9,822 MW Proposed for retirement OR 29 MW proposed for retirement every day since election day

  • 38 Units Proposed for retirement OR A coal unit proposed for retirement every 9 days since election day

  • 17 Plants Proposed for retirement OR a coal plant proposed for retirement every 20 days since election day

 

  • 10,527 MW retired OR 31 MW retired every day since election day

  • 49 units retired OR A coal unit retired every 7 days since election day

  • 22 plants retired OR A coal plant retired every 15 days since election day



Since Inauguration Day (264 days between January 20-October 11, 2017)

  • 8,469 MW Proposed for retirement OR 32 MW proposed for retirement every day since inauguration day

  • 26 Units Proposed for retirement OR A unit proposed for retirement every 10 days since inauguration day

  • 11 Plants Proposed for retirement OR a plant proposed for retirement every 24 days since inauguration day

 

  • 5,993 MW retired OR 23 MW retired every day since inauguration day

  • 18 units retired OR a coal unit retired every 15 days since inauguration day

  • 10 plants retired OR a new coal plant retired every 26 days since inauguration day

 

Today with the news that two of our long-targeted and massive coal plants in TX were closing, we are officially at half of the US coal plants that were operating in 2010 are now either retired or announced to retire.  Many thought this was crazy – it was 3-4 times more than any economic models said were possible.  But their models lacked an advocacy dial – and with 100+ partner strong coalition and the best staff and volunteers on the frontlines – we have ensured the US continues to lead the world in cutting coal use, thereby saving lives and give us a fighting chance of preventing the worst impacts of climate change.  And we are doing it faster under Trump than under Obama.
 

Since Start of Campaign 2010: 262 plants proposed to retire or retired, 1 every 11 days

Since Election Day 2016: 38 plants proposed to retire or retired, 1 every 9 days

 
Much work remains to ensure all the retiring coal is replaced with clean not gas and that the impacted workers and communities are treated fairly, including that the companies and government help ensure a smooth and prosperous transition.  But today we celebrate, and then back to work.
 
Cheers,
Bruce 
____________________________________________________________________________

America is Halfway to Moving Beyond Coal

262 Coal Plants Have Retired or Announced to Retire
Friday, October 13, 2017
Contact:

 

Jeff Shaw, Deputy Director of Communications, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, 503.551.3615, jeff.shaw@sierraclub.org

With Luminant Energy’s Announced Closure of Two Texas plants, 262 Have Retired or Announced to Retire, With 261 Remaining

TEXAS —  Luminant Energy’s announcement to close two of the nation’s largest and dirtiest coal plants in Central Texas means that more than half of the coal plants in America have retired or committed to retire since 2010.

This watershed moment in clean air and water advocacy across the country is also a milestone for public health. Since 2010, coal retirements secured by the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign and over a hundred allied organizations have prevented 7,029 premature deaths, 10,906 heart attacks and 116,043 asthma attacks. Luminant announced this morning that it would close its two-unit Sandow Power Plant in Milam County, Texas, and its two-unit Big Brown Power Plant in Freestone County, Texas. These power plants are some of the most polluting in the country – for example, Big Brown is one of the nation’s top 5 mercury polluters.

Despite a federal administration tripping over itself to pander to a small handful of mining companies and Wall Street firms that gambled on coal, clean energy like wind and solar is rapidly replacing costly, polluting coal plants across the country as America transitions to a clean energy economy. A total of 14 coal plants have announced retirement in 2017. The country is moving away from coal faster since Trump was inaugurated than during the prior six years of the Obama Administration, and this builds on the US progress to cut more carbon pollution than any other country in the world.

With today’s announcement, 262 coal plants have either retired or announced that they will retire, with 261 plants still remaining. In addition to executing grassroots campaigns to quicken and guide this transition, Sierra Club and its partners are proactively advocating for the development of programs and policies that help displaced fossil fuel workers find good, union wage jobs in clean energy.  

In response, Bruce Nilles, Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, issued the following statement:

“Through grassroots pressure across every corner of this country, the American people and American businesses have spoken: we want clean energy, not dirty coal. Today’s announcement highlights that years of work in communities across America is creating a cleaner air, safer water and healthier neighborhoods. It’s time to admit that coal is done and get serious about helping the impacted workers and communities transition to new jobs and new economic opportunities. It is time to be straight with coal mining communities that coal is not coming back, despite all the hot air and fake promises emanating from Washington. Coal is a 19th century technology designed to fix 19th century problems, and we will remember today as a turning point on our path to 100 percent clean energy and solving the climate crisis.”

In response, Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, issued the following statement:

“It isn’t a question of when we replace America’s dirty, polluting coal fleet — it’s a question of how soon. We can either choose to ignore the reality that the public has chosen clean energy over coal, or we can seize the moment to shape this unstoppable transition. If we choose the first path, we’ll cling to an outdated and deadly source of energy for a few years longer, sickening our communities and harming our planet. But if we choose wisely, we will build a healthier world where clean energy and quality jobs are accessible to everyone.”

In response, Michael Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change — who on Wednesday announced a renewed $64 million commitment to the Beyond Coal campaign – issued the following statement:

“Passing the 50 percent mark ahead of schedule — and during a week when the Trump Administration announced new efforts to subsidize the coal industry — speaks volumes about who is waging, and winning, the war on the coal. The American people, in both red and blue states, are demanding energy that is cheaper and cleaner than coal – and more and more, they are getting it.”

 

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