Sierra Club Launches Massive NC Ad Buy to Push Duke Energy to Clean Up Coal Ash Legacy

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Contact:
Jenna Garland, Sierra Club, (404) 281-6398, jenna.garland@sierraclub.org
Kelly Martin, Sierra Club, (828) 423-7845, kelly.martin@sierraclub.org
Anna Jane Joyner, Western North Carolina Alliance, (336) 469-3042, annajane@wnca.org

Sierra Club Launches Massive Ad Buy, Pushes Hard on Duke Energy to Clean Up Toxic Coal Ash Legacy in Advance of Shareholder Meeting

**View the TV Spots HERE and HERE**

CHARLOTTE, NC – As Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good prepares for her first shareholder meeting, the Sierra Club and partner groups in North Carolina are launching a multi-city ad buy to keep the pressure on the company to clean up its toxic coal ash legacy. The ads, featuring video footage of the Dan River coal ash spill, will air in Charlotte and in Asheville before, during and following the shareholder meeting on May 1. The campaign to retire Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant will be featured in this week’s episode of SHOWTIME’s Years of Living Dangerously documentary series on climate change, drawing national attention to the utility. In addition, during Thursday’s meeting, two pastors will deliver a letter signed by seventy-two clergy in Western North Carolina calling on Duke Energy to move beyond coal.

“Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash legacy threatens North Carolinians right to clean water,” said Kelly Martin, senior campaign representative with Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in North Carolina. “Our ads will run on primetime television, bringing the message to households across North Carolina that Duke Energy needs to show real leadership and take action now to clean up its toxic coal ash. This means retiring the Asheville coal plant, removing coal ash ponds from the unlined pits beside our waterways and making real investments in homegrown clean energy solutions.”

After the Dan River spill, Duke Energy announced a plan to address ongoing coal ash pollution at each of its 14 storage sites in North Carolina. The coal ash impoundments at the Asheville plant have been under scrutiny after environmental and clean water advocates filed suit under the Clean Water Act against Duke Energy. Now, Duke Energy has announced for the first time it will consider retiring the Asheville coal-fired power plant as part of its plan to address the high-hazard coal ash ponds.

“We launched the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign two years ago because Duke Energy’s coal plant is the single-largest source of carbon pollution in Western North Carolina. This pollution threatens our communities with climate disruption, and this is a moral issue. This plant does not match the values our families and our city hold dear,” said Anna Jane Joyner, campaign coordinator with Western North Carolina Alliance who will be featured in an upcoming episode of Years of Living Dangerously, a SHOWTIME documentary series. “People of faith are speaking to Duke Energy, saying as our state’s largest utility, we expect real leadership to address these serious problems.”

The Asheville Beyond Coal campaign and Joyner are featured in episode 4 of Years of Living Dangerously, called “Preacher’s Daughter,” scheduled to air on Sunday, May 4, just days after Duke Energy’s annual shareholder meeting. The episode also features Joyner’s father, Rick Joyner, senior pastor at MorningStar Fellowship Church in Charlotte. In addition to her work with the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign, Joyner coordinates the Western North Carolina Green Congregations group which led the effort to secure more than sixty pastors to sign on to the letter to Duke Energy officials.

“When an international documentary series features your utility and your local coal plant, you know you’ve hit a nerve,” added Joyner. “As CEO, Lynn Good has a real opportunity to set a new path for the state and nation’s largest utility company. People of faith and people who want to exercise their right to clean air and clean water are speaking up. It’s time for Duke Energy executives to listen.”

To see the ads, click here and here. To read the letter from clergy to Duke officials, click here. The Asheville Beyond Coal campaign story is featured in SHOWTIME’s Years of Living Dangerously documentary series at http://yearsoflivingdangerously.com/story/preachers-daughter/. To learn more and take action, visit www.ashevillebeyondcoal.org. Waterkeeper Alliance provided video footage of the coal ash spill featured in the video, www.waterkeeper.org.

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