http://www.cleanenergy.org/reducing-the-southeasts-dependence-on-coal/

SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Reducing the Southeast’s Dependence on Coal

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From cradle to grave, electricity from coal-fired power plants exacts a tremendous toll on the environment and human health. Coal plants built today will pollute our air and water for the next 50 years, and emit millions of tons of carbon dioxide that will only worsen the impacts of climate change. When new coal facilities are proposed in our region, SACE uses a variety of tactics to prevent construction from moving forward. We develop campaigns and engage local constituents, decision makers and our members byeducating them about the financial, public health, and environmental impacts of coal. SACE also organizes citizens to become involved in official comment periods around state agency permitting processes and pursues legal challenges against proposed coal facilities where appropriate. Through our work we have strategically partnered with allies to defeat seven proposed new coal facilities in the Southeast, including one of the two proposed units at Duke’s Cliffside plant in North Carolina and a 750 MW coal plant in Florida that was proposed by Seminole Electric.

The burdens of our region’s dependence on coal typically take the form of air and water pollution, water use and consumption,and devastation from mountain top removal mining.But in December of 2008 – when a coal ash pond at TVA’s Kingston coal plant ruptured – the public saw firsthand just how serious the threat of coal ash is to pubic health and safety, as well.

To address our health and safety concerns at existing facilities,SACE organizes support for policies and rules to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants, such as those proposed by the EPA. We work to educate and bring non-traditional voices and concerned community members to testify and communicate with state and federal decision makers alongside SACE staff. Recently we worked with such important citizens to share their concerns atpublic hearings regarding EPA’s proposed new rules that would properly regulate coal ash waste and set strict mercury and air toxics limits.Since the Southeast has nearly 300 coal boilers that dump more than 20,000 pounds of mercury into the air each year, the new mercury rule could significantly reduce those emissions. At EPA’s Listening Session on the Greenhouse Gas New Source Performance Standards, which took place in Atlanta during 2011, SACE staff explained the importance of controlling carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants in the Southeast.

Our unequivocal stance against new and existing coal plants relies on advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy as alternatives to meet energy demand. As we continue to oppose new coal units we will simultaneously promote the retirement of old coal facilities throughout the region.

SACE believes that meeting our future energy needs by using technologies of the past is a losing proposition and simply unacceptable. Instead, we must harness affordable, clean, and sustainable resources that are naturally abundant in the Southeast, and use these resources efficiently to provide electricity for our citizens and families who deserve truly healthy energy options.