Bloomberg Philanthropies Donates $30M To Sierra Club

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Ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Wednesday, April 8th that his nonprofit has made an additional $30 million donation to a Sierra Club environmental campaign to reduce the number of U.S. coal-fired power plants in the U.S.

The new donation by Bloomberg Philanthropies to the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign is above and beyond a $50 million pledge the organization made in 2011. The Beyond Coal campaign has been involved in the closure of 187 highly polluting coal power plants so far.

Statement from former MYC mayor Michael Bloomberg

“Coal’s days are numbered,” Bloomberg commented on Wednesday during the announcement of the donation. “It’s holding back our economy.”

Details on new Bloomberg Philanthropies donation to Beyond Coal

The announcement from Bloomberg and the Sierra Club noted that 12 other contributors would match Bloomberg Philanthropies’ $30 million donation to make a total donation of $60 million.

Given its beefed-up budget, Beyond Coal says it now plans to retire half of the around 500 coal plants in the United States by 2017. That is a significant increase from its prior goal of a retiring a third of U.S. coal plants by 2020.

The new funding comes as the EPA finalizes its proposed regulations to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants. The new rules are scheduled to be released this summer.

Given that coal state lawmakers and industry are working hard to preempt the pending EPA rules in Congress and in the court system, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune noted the group was ready for the fight.

“We’ve been preparing for backlash for the better part of five years,” Brune commented in a recent phone interview.

“Beyond Coal” works with local activists to advocate for closing down inefficient and polluting coal plants, as well as preventing new plants from being built. They are working to replace the retired capacity with various forms of renewable energy.

Brune said that impacted coal communities deserved both “facts and a little bit of empathy,” but also noted that coal did not offer any economic benefit because renewable energy costs continue to drop.

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