Bloomberg Philanthropies $50 million grant to the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign
In July 2011 Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that it was awarding a $50 million four-year grant to the Sierra Club for it 'Beyond Coal' campaign. The announcement of the grant was made in front of GenOn Energy's 60-year-old Potomac River Generating Station in Alexandria, Virginia.
The media release issued by the Sierra Club and Bloomberg Philanthropies stated that "in the U.S. coal is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, and coal’s pollution contributes to four out of the five leading causes of mortality – heart disease, cancer, stroke, and respiratory illness. Coal emits almost half of all U.S. mercury pollution, which causes developmental problems in babies and young children, as well as being a major contributor to asthma attacks. Coal pollution causes $100 billion in health costs annually."
- "If we are going to get serious about reducing our carbon footprint in the United States, we have to get serious about coal. Ending coal power production is the right thing to do, because while it may seem to be an inexpensive energy source the impact on our environment and the impact on public health is significant,” said Bloomberg. “Coal is a self-inflicted public health risk, polluting the air we breathe, adding mercury to our water, and the leading cause of climate disruption."
- "The Beyond Coal Campaign has had great success in stopping more than 150 new coal-fired power plants over the past few years, and is empowering local communities to lead from the front while Congress continues to watch from the back. That is why I’m pleased to support the Sierra Club and its allies, and I encourage others to do the same."
(See the Transcript of Michael Bloomberg at the July 2011 announcement of hios $50m grant to the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign for the full details of his comments at the announcement).
Purpose of the grant
In the announcement, the Sierra Club stated that the grant would assist the organisation with its goals of:
- "Cutting 30% of coal production by 2020
- Reduce mercury pollution by 90% by 2020
- Replace a majority of coal with clean energy".
It also stated that it would allow the group to:
- "Increase the number of Sierra Club campaign states from 15 to 45
- Increase the active member base from 1.4 million to 2.4 million people
- Double the size of full-time Sierra Club staff working on the campaign from 100 to 200."
The Sierra Club's Executive Director, Mike Brune, stated that the successes of the Beyond Coal campaign to date include:
- "The campaign has stopped 153 new coal-fired power plants from being built, preserving market space for clean energy.
- Nearly 10% of the current coal fleet is now slated for retirement.
- New mountaintop removal mining permits have slowed to a trickle.
- Victories at 16 colleges and universities, where Sierra Student Coalition members have won fights to shut down coal plants on their campuses.
- Hundreds of thousands of people mobilized in support of strong clean air and water protections.
- The biggest clean air agreement in the history of the Southeast with the TVA settlement."
Mining industry reaction
A spokeswoman for the National Mining Association, Carol Raulston, told the New York Times that "the Sierra Club’s work that he is supporting, is at the extreme end of various efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and is going to have a tremendous negative impact not only on coal miners, but on the states in the heartland that rely on coal to provide affordable electricity to businesses and consumers."
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
Articles on the announcement from mainstream news organisations
- "Bloomberg, Sierra Club make $50 million anti-coal move", Reuters, July 21, 2011.
- Bryan Walsh, "'Coal Kills Every Day': Michael Bloomberg Pledges $50 Million to Fight the Coal Industry", Time, July 21, 2011.
- John M. Broder, "Mayor Gives $50 Million to Anti-Coal Campaign", New York Times, July 21, 2011.
- Suzanne Goldenberg, "Michael Bloomberg gives $50m to Sierra Club's anti-coal campaign: Organisation says donation by New York's environmentally friendly mayor is a 'game changer' for its Beyond Coal initiative", The Guardian, July 21, 2011.