Duke CEO Jim Rogers has publicly touted his company's commitment
to addressing climate change, even pledging in a recent speech to
shut down all their plants by 2050. Yet building this plant would
lock in another half century of dangerous greenhouse gas emissions
in North Carolina.
"It's absolutely hypocritical for Rogers to talk about
sustainability and responsibility when Cliffside locks in dangerous
climate pollution for another 50 years," said John Deans,
Greenpeace North Carolina organizer. "If they really want to
protect the planet and create jobs, they'd invest in wind and solar
power instead of more polluting energy."
The action is one of a string of protests that have followed a
major civil disobedience at the Capitol Power Plant in Washington,
D.C. in March. That protest resulted in House of Representatives
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
directing Capitol staff to switch the plant to cleaner natural gas
by the end of 2009.
Emboldened by the success of that event, other protests of coal
plants have occurred in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina,
Kentucky, and other states since then, with more planned for this
The event's organizers and supporters declared the protest a
victory, saying the sacrifice made by these ordinary Tar Heels and
other Americans is the kind of commitment needed to convince our
leaders to act immediately to address the clear danger coal-fired
posed by power plants to our environment and economy.
"Stopping Cliffside is the best thing North Carolina can do to
help stop global warming," said Dr. James Hansen, one of the
country's leading climate scientists.
Last week the Environmental Protection Agency ruled that
greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide endanger public health and
welfare, setting the stage for strict government regulation.
Dirty energy sources like coal are bad for the economy. A study
by Dr. John Blackburn, retired chair of the Duke University
Economics Department, found that completing the Cliffside plant and
four nuclear facilities proposed in North Carolina would cause the
state's utility rates to jump 50-100 percent. He also confirmed
that any additional demand for the electricity in North Carolina
can be met by efficiency measures alone.
The findings are supported by a flurry of research showing clean
energy is the smart investment for the country's economy as well as
the environment. For example, a recent University of Massachusetts
study found investing in clean energy projects like wind power and
mass transit creates three to four times more jobs than the same
expenditure in the coal industry. Other studies have shown that
global warming will soon cost Americans an average of $2000 per
family per year as a result of impacts like rising sea level,
coastline erosion, extreme weather, floods, and droughts.
Coal's danger is not limited to global warming. Burning fossil
fuel cuts short at least 24,000 lives in the U.S. annually,
destroys mountains and communities in nearby Appalachia, poisons
rivers and streams, and jeopardizes the lives of miners-issues that
have galvanized a national movement to quit coal and build a clean
The demonstration was organized by a coalition of over a dozen
environmental, faith-based and social justice groups, which are
calling on Duke Energy and the state of North Carolina to cancel
construction of the Cliffside coal power plant. The plant is
predicted to cost $2.4 billion and emit an estimated six million
tons of carbon dioxide every year for the next 50 years.
CONTACTS: John Deans, Greenpeace, 919-829-5504 (c) 207-319-6850;
Liz Veazey, Southern Energy Network, 919-619-5964; Mike Crocker,
For more information about the event visit:
For a photo of the protest visit: http://stopcliffside.org/e107_plugins/my_gallery/foto.php?img=Gallery/action/rally/img_0447a.jpg&h=480&w=580
More visuals will be available later at: http://stopcliffside.org/e107_plugins/my_gallery/foto.php?img=Gallery/action/rally/img_0447a.jpg&h=480&w=580
Follow the protest at www.twitter.com/stopcliffside.
The Blackburn study is available at: http://www.ncwarn.org/docs/reports/Report%203-31-09%20FINAL%20Blackburn-Runkle.pdf