US: War on coal – why polluting plants are shutting down nationwide
March 5th 2012
Good news has been hard to come by for environmentalists, especially during an election year with potentially record-breaking gas prices. [...] But there was good news to be had on Wednesday: two aging coal-fired plants in Chicago – blamed for respiratory illnesses in the city – will be closing down years earlier than expected in a deal that was brokered between energy companies, environmental groups and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Nor is Chicago the only city pushing to close coal plants. On the same day, the power generator GenOn Energy announced that it would be closing 7 coal plants in the mid-Atlantic region, retiring 3,140 MW of electricity generating capacity by 2015. Altogether 106 coal plants have been moved towards premature retirement since the beginning of 2010, the result of tougher federal air pollution regulations and a determined campaign by environmental groups like the Sierra Club to organize local opposition to plants. The shift away from coal—by far the biggest single cause of man-made global warming and a major source of traditional air pollutants—is a signature success for the environmental movement at a time when global action on climate change has been hard to come by. “City by city, town by town, communities are standing up and saying no to coal, and saying yes to clean energy,” wrote Mary Anne Hitt, the director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, in the Huffington Post. “This milestone demonstrates that a shift is well underway across the country, and we will not power our future with the energy sources of the 19th century.”
Read the full article: Time (US)