Sierra Club Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Refugio Mata, (805) 428-4075 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Los Angeles City Council approves resolution defending life-saving mercury pollution standards for coal plants
Vote moves support to clean up LA’s dangerous coal plants as city works to eliminate reliance on coal but resolution on opposing expansion of coal mine that serves plant supplying power to LA still pending.
LOS ANGELES – In a unanimous 10-0 vote today, the Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution to defend the recently approved mercury pollution standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. The resolution was part of a coalition push – including Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal, Center for Biological Diversity, LAANE’s RePower LA, NRDC, and Scope LA – to urge the city to approve two resolutions that would support mercury pollution protections and oppose expansion of a coal mine in Utah. The Alton Coal Hollow Mine sends coal to the Intermountain Power Project, which currently sends one half of its electricity to LA’s Department of Water and Power. Sierra Club and CREDOAction.com partnered to deliver over 1,600 messages from Angelenos asking the City Council to vote in favor of protecting the much needed mercury pollution controls and opposing the expansion of the mine onto federal land near Bryce Canyon National Park.
Los Angeles still gets 39% of its power from two out-of-state coal plants. In 2010, the two plants emitted a combined 768 lbs. of toxic mercury. One teaspoon is enough to contaminate a 20 acre lake. EPA estimates that implementation of MATS nationwide will avoid as many as 11,000 premature deaths, 130,000 cases of aggravated asthma, prevent 540,000 missed days of work, and save the country $90 billion in public health costs by 2016. Until now, coal-fired power plants were the largest unregulated source of mercury pollution in the country. The resolution approved by the City Council today further reinforces commitments made by Mayor Villaraigosa, who recently joined Mayor Bloomberg and other mayors from nearly 100 cities from across the country in signing a letter of support for MATS.
In 2009, Mayor Villaraigosa pledged to eliminate coal from the city’s energy portfolio by 2020. Since
then, more than 15,000 Angelenos have taken action to support the campaign and LADWP has made important progress towards meeting that goal. In 2010, LADWP announced it would exit the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) in Arizona by 2015. Furthermore, LADWP’s budget for 2012-13 contains critical investments in clean energy solutions like energy efficiency and rooftop solar, both of which are integral to replacing the dirty power from NGS and replacing coal with clean energy.
“While much work remains before Los Angeles is coal-free, new reminders of why moving beyond coal is crucial continue to arise” said Aura Vasquez, Associate Organizing Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “Whether it be the deadly impact these coal plants have on public health, the rising costs associated with coal power, or the new jobs LA can generate by getting more power from local clean energy, there are numerous reasons why the coal to clean energy transition is an urgent matter important to Los Angeles’ future.”
“The City of Los Angeles should be a leader in the national movement from dirty coal to clean energy, and these simple, common-sense resolutions are markers of the city’s seriousness in providing that leadership. We applaud the leadership of City Council and welcome the news that LADWP officials joined the City Council in support of the speedy passage of the resolution in support of this life-saving public health rule. ”
Action on the Alton Coal Mine was delayed until after the Council recess in July. Earlier this year, Sierra Club and its allies delivered 210,000 comments opposing the mine expansion to the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM is taking the rest of the year to review comments.
The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign is a national effort that aims to move our economy toward a clean energy future by stopping new polluting coal-fired plants, phasing out existing plants, and keeping U.S. coal reserves in the ground and out of international markets. To date, the campaign has locked in the retirement of 112 coal-fired power plants while blocking proposals for 169 new coal-fired power plants.
For more information about the Sierra Club’s Coal Free LA campaign, please visit www.labeyondcoal.org or contact Refugio Mata, Deputy Press Secretary, Sierra Club at email@example.com