Sierra Club Says 142 Coal-Fired Plants Shut During Drive

The Sierra Club said 142 U.S. coal-fired power plants have closed during its campaign against the fuel, representing 105 gigawatts of electrical capacity.

With the agreement announced by American Electric Power Co. this week that it will shut three of its coal plants, the Sierra Club said its Beyond Coal campaign is more than halfway towards its goal of retiring 30 percent of the U.S. coal fleet by 2020.

“While Congress is paralyzed by partisan bickering, our grassroots, people-powered campaign is succeeding city-by-city and state-by-state, helping the U.S. lead the world in cutting dangerous carbon emissions,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, the country’s biggest environmental group, said in a statement.

New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg donated $50 million to the Sierra Club 18 months ago to fund the anti-coal efforts. The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

Analysts said that cheap natural gas and looming federal emission standards are a big reason plant operators are deciding to close or shift fuel sources.