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Spring time means baseball season for so many - a nice evening out at the ballpark with a hot dog, peanuts, and a cold beverage. We all love a homerun, except when it's against our team, of course. So we here at the Sierra Club decided to mix baseball and politics to make it clear just who's playing on the polluters' team and who's on the side of clean air and clean water protections.
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Deepwater Wind employees assemble pieces of the Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island.
Today, the U.S. took another big step in the transition beyond coal to a clean energy, as the nation's first offshore wind project broke ground.

Block Island calls itself the "Last Great Place," but this small island 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island is first in the hearts of environmentalists and clean energy advocates across the nation today. Big things are happening just off the shore of that little island. That’s where Deepwater Wind has started construction on America's first-ever offshore wind project.

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Mary Anne Hitt testifying with a very tiny Hazel.
Thousands of parents across the U.S. today are taking part in the annual "Take Your Child to Work Day." It's a great chance to show our sons and daughters just what we're up to every day while they're at school (or while they’re home, if you work evenings), and maybe even to inspire them to start thinking about careers of their own.

I normally work from a small office, so keeping my four-year-old daughter Hazel with me all day as I work on my laptop might bore her to tears -- but she's come with me to other events many times in her short life. She's helped me testify at public hearings, stood with me at rallies, and even joined a conference or two.

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Fri Apr 17, 2015 at 10:43 AM PDT

Spartans Move Beyond Coal

by Mary Anne Hitt

On the heels of last week's fantastic Bloomberg Philanthropies and Beyond Coal announcement came some news from Michigan demonstrating once again how powerful our activists are.

Michigan State University announced that it will retire the largest on-campus coal plant in the U.S. by 2016 -- making it the 188th coal plant announced for retirement since the Beyond Coal campaign started in 2010. Indeed it is the tireless, years-long work by student activists with the MSU Sierra Student Coalition and Greenpeace who helped make this happen.

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Today, I had the honor of standing with Michael Bloomberg and dozens of Sierra Club volunteers, staff, and supporters in Washington, DC, to announce a new round of investment by Bloomberg Philanthropies in the work of the Beyond Coal Campaign. With this new support of $30 million over three years, we plan to double down on our past success and secure replacement of half the nation's coal plants with clean energy by 2017.

It's been four years since I first stood with Michael Bloomberg, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune, and our staff and volunteers in front of the polluting GenOn coal plant in Alexandria, Virginia, to announce the launch of our game-changing partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies. The goal of that first round of funding: replace one-third of the nation's coal plants with clean energy by the end of 2015.

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Clean energy lovers cover the front steps of the State Capitol in Salem, Oregon.
On Tuesday, more than 200 leaders from the public health, academic, business, and environmental community traveled to Salem, Oregon, to rally and hold lobby meetings with legislators on this session's top environmental bills as part of the Oregon Conservation Network's Clean Green Lobby Machine lobby day.
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Today, the Supreme Court will hear polluter arguments against the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) vital Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), a long-overdue protection finalized in 2012 that will help guard our families, air, water, and wildlife from dangerous toxic pollution that comes from coal plants. These vital protections are critically important to public health, and the polluters challenging them are putting lives at risk.

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Co-written by Nicole Ghio, campaign representative of the Sierra Club's International Climate Program.

Today, the Sierra Club and CoalSwarm, keeper of the global coal plant tracker database, released a comprehensive report on the global coal pipeline -- and the news is big. The global boom in coal-fired power plant construction is going bust.

Since 2010, for every coal plant completed worldwide, two proposed coal plants have been shelved or cancelled. We have known for a while that the coal industry was facing serious headwinds  -- even banks like Citi and Goldman Sachs have been warning of coal’s impending decline -- but the scale of project failure should be a wake-up call to anyone who still thinks the coal industry's salvation lies in a 21st century global coal boom.

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On Wednesday night I was proud to join  hundreds of residents from River Rouge and other Michigan communities in speaking out for cleaner air in Detroit. For decades, the residents of River Rouge and surrounding communities have been living with severe air pollution from nearby coal plants, and together, they came out in force to pack a public hearing and call on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to put a plan in place that will finally clean up this pollution, and correct a longstanding environmental injustice.
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This week, we secured an important victory for public health when a federal court approved a timeline and framework for protecting Americans from an especially harmful type of air pollution. Sulfur dioxide pollution is a dangerous air pollutant -- so much so, that even short term exposure for as little as five minutes is associated with breathing problems like asthma attacks, particularly among vulnerable populations such as the elderly and asthmatics. And the medical community has established connections between chronic exposure and even more serious conditions, such as aggravation of cardiac conditions, hospitalization, and even premature death.

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Students with Divest Brevard.
College students, faculty, and administrators at North Carolina's Brevard College are cheering at Friday's news that the school will divest from fossil fuels by 2018 -- making it the first university in North Carolina and in the entire Southeast U.S. to divest!
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Desert Mirage High School students outside the EPA hearing on smog standards. Photo by Marta Stoepker.
"None of us should have to be here right now fighting for our right to breathe." That's what a young woman told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at a hearing this week about smog pollution, after boarding a bus with 100 high school students before dawn and traveling for hours to deliver her three minutes of testimony.

The students live in a county with some of the worst air pollution in America, and one after another, they shared their personal stories, many noting they made the trip to speak for their family member who suffers from asthma or other smog related ailments. Their stories left audience members and EPA staff alike visibly shaken, choked up and teary-eyed.

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