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February 4, 2011

Contact:
Virginia Cramer, 804-225-9113 x 102  

Plans for 150 New Coal Plants Scrapped
Transition to Clean Energy Picks Up Steam

Washington, DC: Purdue University has cancelled plans for a new campus coal plant, making the plant the 150th to be defeated or abandoned since the beginning of the coal rush in 2001. Thanks in part to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, in the last two years no new coal plants have started construction and the industry has announced the phase out of over 50 plants.

Purdue was the only university in the country planning to build a new coal plant. At the same time nearly a dozen other schools have committed to ending their dependence on campus coal plants by switching to cleaner sources of energy.

"The way people, businesses, governments and schools think about energy has shifted. The dirty coal status-quo is no longer acceptable," said Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. "It is clear that clean energy technologies—ones that don’t spew life-threatening pollution into our air and water—are the way to a prosperous, secure energy future."

At the beginning of the coal rush more than 150 coal plants were slated for construction. Today a majority of those projects have been defeated or abandoned because of tremendous grassroots pressure, rising costs and a slate of clean up requirements expected from the Environmental Protection Agency.

As major sources of life-threatening soot, smog and mercury pollution existing coal plants are coming under increasing scrutiny. Activists with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign are working on the ground in almost every state to phase out outdated coal plants and transition to cleaner, cheaper options for their area.

"The pollution from these coal plants is making us sick, worsening asthma, stifling childhood development and cutting short thousands of lives. Phasing out coal is essential to cleaning up our air and water, and protecting our families," said Verena Owen volunteer chair of the Beyond Coal Campaign. "Making the switch to clean energy, like wind and solar, is good for our health, but it will also create jobs which makes it good for our economy too."

For more, visit www.sierraclub.org/coal .

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