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NC City Council Votes to Phase Out Coal-fired Power Plant

Photo: Beyond Coal campaign participants in front of the Duke coal-fired power plant in Asheville. Courtesy: Sierra Club
Photo: Beyond Coal campaign participants in front of the Duke coal-fired power plant in Asheville. Courtesy: Sierra Club
October 24, 2013

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Asheville has joined Los Angeles and Chicago in approving a resolution to phase out the use of fossil fuels to create electricity and replace them with clean energy. The unanimous vote by the City Council targeting Duke Energy's coal-fired power plant makes Asheville the first southern city to pass such a resolution, according to Kelly Martin, a senior campaign representative with the Sierra Club.

"This is really significant. It is local leaders taking a climate action. This is good news for our communities and this is good news for the planet," Martin said.

Asheville's resolution establishes a partnership between Duke Energy and the city to develop a plan to phase out the use of fossil fuels in western North Carolina. According to the Sierra Club, Duke Energy's Asheville coal plant is the region's largest source of carbon pollution, which is believed by many to be a key source of climate change.

The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign is a national effort to reduce the use of fossil fuels. So far, power companies across the country have committed to retiring 150 coal-fired power plants. Martin said Asheville's action represents just the beginning.

"We see this trajectory only continuing over the next few years. There is a tremendous call for local climate solutions and for protecting our communities from the impacts of burning coal," she said.

A Duke Energy representative was present at the City Council meeting on Tuesday night. Martin said Duke Energy and city leaders already are looking at programs to help consumers and businesses invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Duke did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Reporting for this story by North Carolina News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest. Media in the Public Interest is funded in part by Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

Stephanie Carson/Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC