Bloomberg puts up another $64M for ‘war on coal’

Source: Dylan Brown, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017

Billionaire businessman and environmental activist Michael Bloomberg pledged another $64 million today to preserve what he called the “war on coal” that President Trump has declared “over.”

The former New York City mayor renewed his commitment to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. And this time around, he topped the $50 million he gave the group in 2011 to help boost its crusade.

In total, Bloomberg has invested $168 million in an effort the Sierra Club credits with putting half of the nation’s coal plants on the path to retirement.

The announcement at the club’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., came a day after U.S. EPA unveiled his plan to rescind President Obama’s restrictions on power plant emissions, the Clean Power Plan.

“The Trump administration has yet to realize that the war on coal was never led by Washington — and Washington cannot end it,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

Since 2011, 259 coal plants have been retired. Even though the Sierra Club helped fight many of those operations, the advent of cheap natural gas and the growth in renewables have been crippling to coal.

“All of this and we’re just getting started,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement. “Our movement is growing and our momentum is unstoppable.”

The Bloomberg money will fund not only the Sierra Club but also a host of other environmental groups and their anti-coal efforts at the grass-roots level nationwide.

“Aggressive state and local action to remove the barriers that block a clean energy future can help the U.S. move far closer to our goals,” League of Conservation Voters board Chairwoman Carol Browner said in a statement.