We the people: Activist victories over Big Coal

Here’s a great article about the strength and accomplishments of people-powered campaigns against Big Coal. It’s especially timely, what with the upcoming Seattle city council hearing  this Tuesday. The council will be talking about a coal-trains resolution. If you’re considering coming to the hearing, read this article and get inspired!

Coal is going down in the United States, and that’s good news for the Earth’s climate. The US Energy Information Administration has announced … a staggering 20 per cent decline from a year ago. And the EIA anticipates additional decline by year’s end, suggesting a historic setback for coal, which has provided the majority of the US’ electricity for many decades.

Even more encouraging, however, is the largely unknown story behind coal’s retreat…  a persistent grassroots citizens’ rebellion that has blocked the construction of 166 proposed coal-fired power plants…. Local activists across the United States imposed a de facto moratorium on new coal.

The movement’s strength was grounded in the unsung work of retail politics: activists talking with friends and neighbors, pestering local media, packing regulatory hearings, protesting before state legislatures, filing legal challenges and more. Nor was the anti-coal movement comprised solely of the usual suspects. In addition to environmentalists, it included clean energy advocates, public health professionals, community organisers, faith leaders, farmers, attorneys, students and volunteers like Verena Owen, a self-described “permit nerd” from Illinois, who proved herself so capable that she was recruited to serve as co-director for the Beyond Coal campaign.

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