In July 2011, Mary Anne Hitt watched New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg give $50 million to Beyond Coal, her Sierra Club campaign that aims to fight climate change by retiring the nation’s aging coal plants. The gift was announced with the smokestacks of Alexandria’s Potomac River Generating Station belching sulfur plumes in the background. A month later, city officials unveiled plans to close the plant.
Beyond Coal’s record of success is what earned Bloomberg’s seal of approval. The project has already closed 125 of the nation’s 522 coal plants—the number-one producer of greenhouse gases—and is working to replace them with clean energy by 2030.
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