FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Historic agreement reached to phase out coal-burning in Washington
"This agreement provides tens of millions of dollars to Lewis County for community economic development and local energy efficiency improvement projects that will create good, new local jobs," said Climate Solutions policy specialist Jessica Finn Coven.
Kathleen Ridihalgh, Sierra Club, (206) 356-2925
Craig M. Benjamin, Environmental
Priorities Coalition, (206) 713-6204
Marc Krasnowsky, NW Energy
Coalition, (206) 621-0094
OLYMPIA - Today, major environmental organizations in Washington reached an historic agreement with the TransAlta Corp. and Governor Gregoire to phase out coal-fired power generation in Washington. The agreement reflects all three parties' shared vision of a coal-free future for Washington, has the support of local labor organizations, and will provide a model for the nation of how investing in the transition to a clean-energy future can create jobs and a healthy economy.
This agreement will serve as the foundation for legislation that would
put in place a responsible, well-planned transition for Lewis County beyond
dirty, outdated coal. Over the next few days, the Washington State Senate
will consider legislation that would give the local community adequate
funding to clean up the polluted plant site, prepare for future economic
development, and build the infrastructure for long-term economic prosperity
and good, local jobs. This legislation is one of the four environmental
community priorities for the 2011 legislative session.
"This is a giant step forward toward a healthier and safer Washington,
free from coal," said Coal Free Future for Washington campaign director
Doug Howell. "We are leaving coal pollution in the past as we continue
building the clean energy economy of today. We thank the Governor, TransAlta, Sen. Rockefeller, Rep. Liias, the people of Lewis County and the
Environmental Priorities Coalition for their efforts in achieving this
"Following on the heels of the watershed agreement to end Oregon's
coal-fired generation by 2020, this agreement demonstrates that by working together, the people of Washington and the Northwest can build a model for the nation of how investing in the transition to a clean energy future can create jobs and a healthy economy," said NW Energy Coalition executive director Sara Patton.
"This agreement reinforces our responsibility to phase out coal-burning at
the TransAlta plant and protect Washington families from the harmful health effects of burning coal for electricity. It also reinforces our
responsibility to do this in a way that strengthens the local economy
and takes care of the community," said Earth Ministry executive director
"This agreement provides tens of millions of dollars to Lewis County for
community economic development and local energy efficiency improvement projects that will create good, new local jobs," said Climate Solutions policy specialist Jessica Finn Coven. "It provides Washington state with tens of millions of dollars to spur clean energy technology development and keep our state competitive in the clean energy economy of today. And it provides certainty of an orderly and fair transition beyond coal for everyone involved."
Washington Environmental Council executive director Joan Crooks said the
agreement "ensures that there's a plan in place to clean up the toxic
waste at the plant and prepare the site for future economic development. It
also provides for near-term pollution reductions to help protect Washington
Crooks concluded: "In Washington, we know that a strong economy and a
healthy environment go hand in hand. We look forward to working with
TransAlta, the community of Lewis County and our state legislators to put
this agreement into law."
The Environmental Priorities Coalition is a network of 24 leading environmental groups in Washington state that believe we can have a strong economy that provides everyone with the opportunity to prosper and a clean, healthy and safe environment for ourselves and our children.
Founded in 2003, the Environmental PrioritiesCoalition selects priority issues each legislative session that are important to protecting public health and welfare.