Kicking the Coal Habit
Across the nation students, some wearing “Kick-Ash” skivvies, are demonstrating against on-campus coal plants. At Michigan State University, students staged a sit-in to protest health hazards posed to themselves and East Lansing residents by the school’s coal-fired power plant. Twenty colleges and universities have promised to quit coal by signing on to the Sierra Club’s Campuses Beyond Coal initiative.
Finally, the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and Cross‐State Air Pollution Rule will annually prevent as many as 46,000 premature deaths and provide at least $150 billion in benefits, at least according to the EPA. And the agency recently announced carbon-dioxide limits for new power plants and major upgrades.
While we cannot wean ourselves from coal anytime soon, we’re phasing it out. Despite the “clean-coal” media blitz, Americans, from liberal environmentalists to conservative ranchers, now recognize it as a filthy, 19th-century fuel source whose days are clearly numbered.
What You Can Do
Conserve electricity and make your home energy efficient. Tell your legislators to support the EPA’s efforts to make coal plants safer for fish, wildlife, and people. For more information on coal-fired generation and proposed export of coal to Asia, go to beyondcoal.org.