TransAlta, and Coal Export, and EPA, OH MY!
As most of you know, Washington state has one final coal fired power plant located in Centralia, WA. Sierra Club, Earth Ministry, Washington Environmental Council, CoolMom and many other environmental groups and individuals have been pressing the legislature to pass a bill that would transition this coal fired plant off of coal once and for all. This bill is up for vote in the house. Here is what the bill says.
What you can do: Contact your House Representative and let them know they MUST PASS the TransAlta Coal Bill (E2SSB 5769) because it will phase out the harmful practice of burning dirty coal, protect us from harmful air pollution, and will support renewable energies and economic development for the Centralia community.
A recent article on the front page of the Sunday Seattle Times spelled out Washington's potential for opening up coal exports to Asia. Should the West Coast export coal to Asia? For several reasons, I say NO and that is a very BIG resounding NO!
In order to curb global warming, we must stop using coal everywhere, not just in the US. By exporting coal to China we in essence give our blessing for China to continue to build coal fired power plants [exceeding the U.S.], using our dirty carbon intensive coal. Many say China is just going to find coal somewhere else and why shouldn't we cash in on this lucrative market. The U.S. is like what Saudi Arabia is to oil. Montana alone has more coal than China. If the U.S. prevents the export of coal, we then decrease the supply, the price will go up and the demand will go down. We should seize this opportunity to push for renewables, decrease our consumption of China goods and force China to look towards renewables instead of building more coal plants.
Renewable energy, wind. A nice tidbit, in 2010, the Texas grid obtained 7.8% of its electricity from wind energy, with wind energy providing more than 25% of the grid’s electricity at one point. Roughly 20% of the electricity produced in Iowa now comes from wind energy. Similarly, european countries like Germany, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, and Ireland now obtain more than 10% of their electricity from wind energy, with wind providing more than 45% of Spain’s electricity at one point. courtesy Doug Howell, Sierra Club.
The importance of this issue. Most of the profits from the coal export go to the coal companies that are stopping climate legislation and renewable energy initiatives. If we begin exporting large amounts of coal anyway, the fight against global warming will probably be lost.
The cost to communities. The coal terminal cities slotted for export, Cherry Point in Bellingham, and Longview along the Columbia River will bare the burden dirty coal pollution as coal dust is expelled into the air during offloading and loading of coal. This will negatively affect their communities health and impact the adjacent water ways. Additionally, the cities along the rail way routes from Montana and Wyoming to Washington state will also see the effects of coal dust coming off the trains which impacts wet lands, aquatic life, fisheries and not to mention the air quality and health of citizens.
What you can do:
- Contact Robin Everett 206.378.0114 x308, to volunteer as part of the Sierra Club Coal Free Campaign.
- Think about what you are purchasing, why are you purchasing it and who you are purchasing it from. There are many consignment shops where you can purchase gently used items and stores that cater to products built in the US.
- Purchase locally produced goods whenever you can and read labels.
- Write a letter to your editor, congress[wo]man, favorite store and demand for U.S. produced goods.
- Support the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its ability to continue to regulate clean water and clean air for U.S. citizens.
To protect the corporate polluters that got them elected, several U.S. senators are pushing legislation that would gut the Clean Air Act. These amendments could come down to just a handful of votes. We need to generate as many calls as possible to each and every senator. Corporate polluters and their allies in the Senate are trying to undermine the EPA's ability to enforce clean air standards and protect public health. The threat of climate change is very real, and we cannot afford to delay action. That’s why the EPA must maintain the authority to set commonsense limits on carbon pollution. courtesy League of Conservation Voters.
The vote could happen any day this week, which is why it's urgent that you call your senators and tell them to stand up to Big Oil and Coal. The Clean Air Act has a 40-year track record of protecting our health and saving lives. Contact your senators now before it's too late.
What you can do:
It took me just two minutes to make both calls to my Senators, so please call your legislator today. Your call matters.
Hi, my name is [name] and I live in [city], [state]. I’m calling to urge Senator [name] to oppose all amendments that block, weaken or delay the EPA’s ability to curb harmful carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act.