Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas & Electric made a landmark announcement to retire three coal plants in Kentucky – including the hotly-contested, massively polluting Cane Run Plant in Louisville.

The announcement set the retirement date for 2016. Since 2003, the Sierra Club has worked on an extensive organizing campaign targeting the plant for responsible retirement due to the extensive damage the plant’s pollution has caused to the families of Louisville,Kentucky.

“We applaud this announcement. Kentucky families will soon to be able breathe a little easier,” said Thomas Pearce, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Organizer. “Phasing out these dirty, outdated coal plants will protect our kids’ health, and allow us to create new jobs in clean energy. We hope this is the beginning of a longer-range plan to transition to clean, safe power, energy efficiency, and weatherization, all of which help protect our lungs. The next step now is to figure out a way to protect the community and the Ohio River from the dangerous and toxic coal ash landfill.” 

The Green River Plant in Central City, along with the Tyrone Plant in Versailles, and most notably, the Cane Run Plant in Louisville have undermined the health of Kentucky residents for decades. Over the past few years, the Cane Run Plant in Louisville, and its associated coal ash dump, has been a source of significant controversy as neighboring citizens and health professionals have linked the pollution to asthma attacks and a wide range of health problems in the local area. According to the 2011 Clean Air Task Force study, the Cane Run Plant contributes to 23 deaths, 35 heart attacks, 380 asthma attacks a year.

“I am grateful to hear of the coal plant retirement, it has been a long time coming,” said Kathy Little, Cane Run resident and mother. “Pollutants from the plant have been threatening the health of our families for far too long.  The closure of Cane Run is a great moment, however I hope this is a first step for LG&E. We still need to protect our families from the coal ash dump and be looking towards investments in energy efficiency and renewables.”

Recently the Sierra Club joined forces with Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, and his Bloomberg Philanthropies to combat the dangerous health effects coal fired power has on children and families across the nation. The announcement of a $50 million dollar gift to roll back the threat of coal-fired pollution was held just outside the plant in Alexandria.

The Cane Run, Green River and Tyrone plants join the ranks of plants like GenOn in Alexandria, VA which just announced an historic retirement last month. The Beyond Coal Campaign aims to replace dirty, polluting coal-fired power plants with clean energy like wind and solar power. The campaign has stopped more than 150 coal plants from breaking ground, and the number of planned retirements continues to grow and the nation transitions to a clean energy future.

Source: The Sierra Club

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