Coal-Fired Power on the Way Out

March 27, 2010 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Lester Brown for this article.

The past two years have witnessed the emergence of a powerful movement opposing the construction of new coal-fired power plants in the United States. Initially led by environmental groups, both national and local, it has since been joined by prominent national political leaders and many state governors. The principal reason for opposing coal plants is that they are changing the earth’s climate. There is also the effect of mercury emissions on health and the 23,600 U.S. deaths each year from power plant air pollution.

Over the last few years the coal industry has suffered one setback after another. The Sierra Club, which has kept a tally of proposed coal-fired power plants and their fates since 2000, reports that 123 plants have been defeated, with another 51 facing opposition in the courts. Of the 231 plants being tracked, only 25 currently have a chance at gaining the permits necessary to begin construction and eventually come online. Building a coal plant may soon be impossible.

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