Shutting Down Michigan State Universitys Coal Plant

by David Pinsky

March 23, 2012

The Michigan State University (MSU) T.B. Simon coal plant is the largest on-campus coal plant in the country. The MSU coal plant burns 200,000 tons of coal every year, and is one contributor to the 31 annual deaths in the Lansing area due to coal-fired power plants.

Since 2009, hundreds of MSU students have been waking up and saying today I am going to shut down our campus coal plant! For nearly three years, two student groups, MSU Greenpeace and MSU Beyond Coal, have been working tirelessly to pressure their administration to shut down the coal plant and transition to 100% clean energy.


Following relentless grassroots organizing from students, the administration finally responded – with an unambitious energy transition plan that calls for 40% clean energy by 2030. The plan also contains false solutions such as burning biomass and natural gas. Greenpeace and Sierra Club energy experts have concerns about the methodology used to create the plan. The ultimate goal of the plan is 100% clean energy. However, with a current timeline that extends to 2030, meeting not even half of the 100% goal, MSU students are calling on the MSU Board of Trustees to reject the current energy transition plan.

On April 13th, the MSU Board of Trustees has the power to reject this unambitious plan and demonstrate leadership on clean energy. The Board of Trustees must vote NO and request that MSUs President Lou Anna K. Simon prioritizes clean energy by creating a science-based, ambitious energy transition plan including 100% clean energy like wind, solar, and geothermal. Natural gas, especially from fracking, isnt progress. Its a downright insult to MSU students, future generations, and communities impacted by natural gas drilling.

MSU students need your help in this critical moment. We need to stand together, asserting that dirty energy will no longer be tolerated by the millennial generation, and we must push forward, embrace existing technology and shift towards a 100% clean energy now.

For the first two weeks in April (2nd 6th and 9th 13th) MSU Greenpeace is asking

students from across the country to flood the MSU administrations phone lines, email

inboxes, and – most importantly – the decision making room on Friday, April 13th.

You can find out more and sign up here!

As young people we are constantly pushing social movements. This is our time to

come together – MSU Students need you to stand in solidarity with them. MSU students are calling on the larger youth climate movement and activists from all across the country to stand in solidarity with them in the fight for a clean energy future.

David Pinsky

By David Pinsky

David authors Greenpeace USA’s annual seafood sustainability report for the nation’s largest supermarkets, holding major companies accountable and shifting seafood practices that have global impacts on our oceans.

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