Coal Free Future for Washington
A Coal-Free Future for Washington
On April 29, 2011, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law the Coal Free Future for Washington legislation to responsibly transition TransAlta Corp.’s Centralia, WA power plant off of coal! The revised bill (E2SSB 5769) is based on a historical agreement that will responsibly end coal pollution in our state and invest in an economic transition for the affected community. The legislation is supported by environmental groups, health advocates, the faith community, labor unions, TransAlta, Governor Gregoire and the local community - a win-win for our health, the economy, and the planet.
It will transition the dirty power plant off coal in order to address citizens' widespread concerns about the health impacts of coal, climate change, and air pollution caused by the plant. With a quick reduction in haze pollution, one of the boilers being shutdown in 2020, and the other boiler shutdown by 2025, we will all breathe more easily. And as we address the pollution, we can simultaneously invest in the local economy and create new, good-paying local jobs. These investments will spur Washington's clean energy technology sector and make us competitive in the clean energy economy of today. Earth Ministry is proud to have been one of the leaders of this campaign.
Learn more about why people of faith care about coal in this article by Executive Director LeeAnne Beres and Program & Outreach Director Jessie Dye, published in the Winter 2010-2011 issue of Earth Letter: A Religious Call to Move Beyond Coal.
Coal is not good stewardship
• Washington’s only coal plant, owned by the Canadian company TransAlta, is the single largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the state, producing as much carbon pollution as every car, truck and van on the road in King, Yakima, Garfield, Columbia, and Lincoln Counties combined.
• The TransAlta coal plant is a relic of the dirty fuels economy of the past and a roadblock to our clean energy future. It prevents us from being the job-creating pioneers we know we can be.
• The TransAlta plant is the number one source of mercury pollution in Washington, and produces 2.3 million tons of toxic coal ash waste.
• Burning coal at the TransAlta plant causes $11.2 million in annual health care costs in our state.
• The TransAlta coal plant violates state and federal Clean Air requirements by spewing haze-causing pollution that affects 12 national parks and wilderness areas (including Mt. Rainier).
• The Northwest Power and Conservation Council stated in their recent 6th power plan that we can move beyond coal and meet most of our growing energy needs through energy efficiency and renewable resources.
Recent News on the Coal Campaign
At Environmental Lobby Day, Earth Ministry's LeeAnne Beres testified in support of a Coal-Free Future at the public hearing on the bill. LeeAnne was asserted that coal is a moral issue and was quoted in a The Seattle Times article on the hearing. Read LeeAnne's complete testimony here.
Earth Ministry's LeeAnne Beres represented the Coal-Free Future for Washington campaign in a meeting with the Olympian Editorial Board regarding the priorities which spurred a recent Editorial in the Olympian on TransAlta .
In an Opinion Editorial for the Columbian, Earth Ministry Board Member the Rev. Hunt Priest and Bishop Greg Rickel provide the faith perspective on why Washington needs to transition off coal.
To read more about Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light's involvement with the coal campaign, please click here for recent press releases and news articles.