Oh Say Can You See? Air Pollution and the Smoky Mountains

Back in 1990, average visibility in the Smoky Mountains was just 25 miles. Since then, reductions in air pollution have made it possible for visitors to see as far as 46 miles. In the absence of any air pollution, however, visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park would be able to see a whopping [...]

Another hurdle for “dormant” Plant Washington

Katherine Helms Cummings leads the fight to stop Plant Washington from her home in Washington County, Georgia. She is Executive Director of the Fall-Line Alliance for a Clean Environment (FACE) and writes the Rural and Progressive blog where this article first appeared. The Carbon Pollution Standards for new power plants announced by the Environmental Protection [...]

Final Clean Power Plan Safeguards Public Health and Spurs Clean Energy Growth

On Monday, President Obama announced the release of the finalized Clean Power Plan, our nation’s first regulations to limit carbon pollution from existing fossil-fueled power plants. The Clean Power Plan, as crafted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets achievable carbon pollution reduction goals for each state, based on the unique energy mix currently serving the power needs of each state.

This historic action will mean a huge boon to public health. Along with reducing climate-change causing carbon pollution, the Clean Power Plan will also reduce other harmful pollution from coal plants resulting in prevention of 3,600 premature deaths, 1,700 non-fatal heart attacks, 90,000 asthma attacks in children and 300,000 missed workdays and schooldays due to illness.

Supreme Court Mercury Decision Not a Real Game Changer

In a close 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States sent the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Mercury Air Toxics Standard (MATS) rule back to a lower court for review. Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion, which hinged on an interpretation of administrative law requirements and did not overturn EPA’s ability to regulate hazardous air pollutants from power plants.

While the Court did not overturn EPA’s analysis and conclusion that public health benefits of the MATS rule vastly outweigh the costs to the coal and oil industry, it did find that EPA should have first considered whether it was appropriate to regulate power plants under the Clean Air Act’s hazardous air pollution safeguards.

First Legal Challenge to the Clean Power Plan Dismissed

Today, the DC Circuit dismissed the first legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The lawsuit, filed by the coal industry and several coal dependent states, claimed that EPA lacked the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. Ultimately, the DC Circuit found the legal challenge premature, given that EPA has yet to release the final version of the Clean Power Plan – which is expected to arrive in August.

3 Ways to clean up the Asheville coal retirement

SACE staffers Toni Nelson and John D. Wilson contributed to this blog post. It’s always good news for public health when a utility announces a coal-fired power plant retirement, as Duke Energy did for its Asheville plant last week on May 19. Unfortunately, Duke did not fully heed the demands of local activists – including the [...]

The Supreme Court, the Mercury Rule and Chicken Little

Last week, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS), set to go into effect next month. The MATS rule, finalized in December 2011, requires coal-fired power plants to reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants through the installation of pollution [...]

Sierra Club: Duke’s Asheville coal plant exceeding safe sulfur dioxide levels

This guest blog was written by Emma Greenbaum, who is the Sierra Club’s Organizing Representative for North Carolina Beyond Coal in Asheville, NC. For the past several years, the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign has been speaking out publicly and building support for transition off of coal at Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant. We have brought attention to the threat [...]

Gulf Power = Green Power? Utility leaps forward

Updated at 4:40pm ET, on February 16 to reflect correct solar capacity planned for military bases in Georgia Power’s service territory. Gulf Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company and one of the smallest investor-owned electric utilities in Florida, just took not one, not two, but THREE steps forward on clean energy in as many weeks. First, [...]

Yes, America wants solar and wind, not nukes

This guest blog was originally published by Michael Mariotte, president of the Nuclear Information Resource Service (NIRS) in GreenWorld on January 16, 2015. Find the direct post here. The post references the recent, exciting news about a solar ballot initiative in Florida recently announced by the coalition Floridians for Solar Choice, of which the Southern [...]