Monday, December 12, 2011

Longleaf fight brought tears to my eyes this morning

The longest active fight to stop a proposed coal plant came to a close today with a huge victory for the health of Georgia's citizens and our fragile natural resources. As soon as I realized what the call was about (we had no idea why we were asked to participate) my eyes welled with tears. Stopping this 1200MW proposed coal plant is a HUGE VICTORY for grassroots organizers across the country.

Bobby and Jane McClendon have taken lots of grief from their neighbors in Early County while opposing Longleaf, but they remained steadfast in their determination to stop a coal plant that would ruin the air they breathe, the water they drink, the fish swimming nearby, and the health of their friends and family (now and future generations). With the help of Colleen Kiernan at the Sierra Club, Erin Glynn with the Beyond Coal Campaign, Justine Thompson at GreenLaw, and a very long list of other organizations, individual citizens, attorneys, experts, and funders (remember, no one on the coal plant opposition side of the equation is billing $750+ per hour for legal work to stop these nightmare plants, philanthropic groups play a vital role in this work).

What does this mean for Plant Washington? It should serve as notice to the leaders of P4G, my local EMC Board, co-op members, AND the citizens who are fighting Plant Washington that in fact coal can be stopped in Georgia, despite the high priced lawyers and experts, and millions of shareholder dollars that are sunk into a project like this.

In one day's work this summer individuals shut down the phone system at LS Energy, the developer of Longleaf, with calls opposing the plant. That day was one of many spent during the past 11 years developing opposition to this pollution spewing plant. The grit and determination, skilled work and strategy, and long hours (and funding) have resulted in a victory that serves as a model for work against Plant Washington. I hope it is the last proposed coal plant that must be defeated in our country.

That sounds ambitious, but with Georgia being one of the few states still issuing new coal plant permits (never mind that our rivers are already full of mercury, we don't have enough water to power new plants, our air quality is declining, and the health of our state's citizens is impacted negatively in both the long term and short term pictures), we still have work to do.

With the news today about  Longleaf, I've rolled my sleeves up a little more. If you want to make a difference right now in the work that I am doing via FACE, please consider joining or making a contribution here. I love a good fight, and I am in this one to win.

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