Beyond Coal spreads to UC

Fall 2011 –

Last year the Beyond Coal campaign came to Miami University to challenge the administration to wean itself off its coal power plant. This summer the University of Cincinnati chapter got their year off to an exciting start by protesting for cleaner air in the city.

On August 13, six months after UC’s Beyond Coal kickoff, more than 30 students and community activists from the university gathered at the Duke Energy headquarters in downtown Cincinnati to demand the company shut down its coal plants.

The rally would not have been complete without the homemade coffin the group delivered to Duke Headquarters. The coffin, covered in statistics of the premature deaths and increased asthma attacks that are the result of these plants, was a striking and innovative visual representation of the harsh realities and dangers of coal.

After the special delivery to Duke, the group continued to march on to Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown’s office to deliver a letter from the community demanding a transition to clean energy for the health of the campus, community, and environment:

Dear Sherrod Brown,

è Please promise to protect public health and clean air in Ohio.

è Call on energy companies, such as Duke, to clean up their act and provide renewable energy solutions for their communities.

è Stand with people, and do not vote based on corporate interests due to campaign contributions.

è Publicly declare to stand with Ohio, vote to protect the Clean Air Act, the EPA, and the health of our communities.

Sincerely,

The People of Ohio

Senator Brown has a mixed record when it comes to the Clean Air Act, a federal law put into effect to control the nation’s air pollution. He has said “Most importantly, however, [green legislature] will ensure the competitiveness of domestic manufacturers, keep utility rates affordable, and create new jobs and industries in Ohio.”

In April, Senator Brown voted in support of an amendment that would gut the Clean Air Act. Many have gone so far as to attribute his decision to the millions of dollars that “dirty” energy companies and corporations have given in recent Ohio elections.

“Cincinnati, UC, and Senator Sherrod Brown have a chance to distinguish themselves by standing up for Clean Air and supporting the move beyond coal. We’re calling on Senator Brown to join us in standing up to Big Coal and toxic air pollution,” said Daniel Traicoff, a leader in the University of Cincinnati’s Beyond Coal campaign.

UC is considered to be a leader in the Midwest region in engineering, architecture, and transportation, as well as green energy and sustainability.

Brian Kunkemoeller, President of Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection at UC, said “[The University] holds the intellectual and organizational tools necessary not only to move beyond coal, but to be a leader in reduction of carbon emissions and sustainable energy production.”

Beyond Coal members are attending the fourth and final Public Utilities Commission of Ohio hearing on Duke Energy’s rate plan to support those Cincinnatians who are tired of Duke’s reliance on coal. The hearing will take place on September 9 at 12:30 pm at Cincinnati City Hall.

Beyond Coal will continue to push the university and the community towards sustainability, as will Miami’s chapter.

“We have a lot of events in the planning stages for this year, and our membership rates have increased tremendously. I’m really excited for what the future holds,” said junior Elizabeth Shultz, a member of Beyond Coal at UC.

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