Coal is our country’s dirtiest energy source. The Sierra Club,
creator of the national #BeyondCoalcampaign, vehemently diffuses this fact. This toxic form of energy pollutes both air and water. In fact, coal plants annually produce 140 million tons of coal ash pollution in the United States alone. The statistics only become bleaker as scientists continue to investigate the impacts of this type of contamination. With 72% of all toxic water pollution coming from coal-fired power plants, coal energy serves as the chief source of toxic water pollution in the U.S. When airborne, the pollution leads to smog, climate disruption,
and toxic mercury that is transferred to our bodies via contaminated fish.
#BeyondCoal has made major progress in North Carolina. The campaign has put considerable pressure on coal ash plants, resulting in plant retirements and cleanups and the passage of a Clean Energy resolution in Asheville, where the focus was on Duke Energy’s coal plant. While the pressure successfully resulted in Duke’s retirement of its plant, they decided to build a natural gas plant as replacement, placing the city right back in its original position. Thus, with Duke choosing to forego the coveted renewable energy option, the campaign endures, and the community continues to fight for a clean energy future.
To remedy the many issues #BeyondCoal brings to light, the Sierra Club educates the public about viable forms of clean energy. They specifically extol the benefits of solar and wind power as alternatives to other more pollutant forms. The conversion has been successful in many areas across the country. Success has even come in the form of money: the price of clean energy is often less than its dirty coal counterpart.
The Sierra Club celebrated a special milestone mid July – the closing its 200th coal-fired plant. This accomplishment has been a long time coming, and we are proud of and thankful for all that our partner has achieved. Collectively, we have come a long way on the path to universal clean energy, but we have a ways to go in order to make “dirty and dangerous fossil fuels a thing of the past,” as Sierra Club hopes. All who have a vested interest in the sustainability of our planet should contribute effort and passion to this clean energy revolution.