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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

September 16, 2009

Virginia Cramer, 804-225-9113 x 102

Back to School? Not for Coal
Sierra Club Launches New Campaign to Kick Coal Off Campuses

Washington DC:  The Sierra Club and Sierra Student Coalition today launched a new nationwide campaign to kick coal off campuses and support President Obama’s clean energy vision. The campaign is kicking off with organizers on the ground to end coal burning at several of the dozens of campuses that have on-site coal plants. The groups aim to wean all campuses off of coal-generated electricity, replacing it with clean energy options.   

“We’re focusing on campuses because universities should be leaders in technological innovation and sustainability, creating models for green society,” said Bruce Nilles, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “A campus should be place of learning, development and growth where students can thrive, not home to dangerous and polluting 19th century technology.”

Already the Sierra Student Coalition, working with students across the country, has secured commitments from over 600 universities to reduce their carbon emissions to zero through the Presidents Climate Commitment. Yet most of these schools continue to rely on coal to meet their energy needs. In fact at least 60 campuses operate dirty coal plants on campus, making it impossible to meet their commitments to slash emissions of global warming pollution..

“To end coal’s dominance on campuses, we are bringing students together from coast to coast.  We are going to kick coal off campuses and replace dirty coal with clean energy alternatives like wind and solar,” said Kim Teplitzky, National Field Coordinator for the Sierra Student Coalition. “What students want is a healthy, just and prosperous future. Clean energy can make that happen and we’re willing to work for it.”

The national campus campaign kicks off with the release of the report Breaking Coal’s Grip on Our Future: Moving Campuses Beyond Coal. The report describes the problem of using coal to power our colleges and universities, highlights some of the campuses that rely on this dirty power source, and shows examples of schools that are now transitioning away from coal and toward clean energy. Students on at least twenty campuses will be delivering this report to the President’s office.

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