On Tuesday, the city council of Asheville, North Carolina voted unanimously to shift the city from coal to clean energy. The vote was on a resolution to work with Duke Energy, the owner of a coal power plant in Asheville, to phase out the use of coal-fired power stations in the city.
Asheville’s coal power station is the most significant greenhouse gas emitter in the city. Also, a local riverkeeper discovered that coal ash containing toxic chemicals from the plant’s coal ash ponds leaked into the French Broad River and groundwater.
“Duke’s toxic coal ash problem is another reason why Asheville needs this plant phased out,” said Hartwell Carson, the French Broad Riverkeeper who discovered the coal ash contamination. “The only way to permanently address toxic coal ash waste is to stop burning coal, and the city’s resolution is the first step toward that goal here in Western North Carolina.”
According to Grist, Ian Somerhalder and Mary Anne Hitt commented publicly on the need to transition from coal to renewable energy, especially solar and wind. Ian’s comments included, but were not limited to: “Let’s double down on solar energy, let’s build wind turbines, let’s weatherize our homes.” He also pointed out that the fear that intensified storms and heat waves might be caused by climate change is the primary driving force behind climate change mitigation efforts.
Whether or not climate change was confirmed to cause these issues, would you want to wait and find out? I wouldn’t. Ian Somerhalder is thinking progressively, and realizes that prevention is better than cure. On top of that, climate change is only one of multiple issues caused by coal power plants.
This coal phaseout campaign was supported by the French Broad Riverkeeper, Western North Carolina Alliance, Ian Somerhalder, and, of course, the Asheville Beyond Coal Campaign.
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