Hundreds Rally to Roll Beyond Coal in Texas
On Halloween, hundreds of Texans rallied to Roll Beyond Coal in Austin, Dallas, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, and Alpine, to advocate for clean power and green jobs and ask the EPA to stop the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) from permitting 12 new proposed coal plants in the state.
"The Austin Sierra Club, the Sierra Student Coalition, and our environmental partners had an incredible Roll Beyond Coal rally," says Lone Star Chapter organizer Donna Hoffman. "We petitioned the EPA to do the right thing and help Austin quit coal by 2020."
More than 200 people turned out to Austin City Hall Plaza, where the Bicycle Sports Shop supplied bike racks that were filled to capacity during the rally. A DJ spun tunes, performers sung coal protest songs, and Sierra Club staffer Ian Davis introduced the speakers to kick things off.
Councilman Chris Riley spoke about the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and the benefits of bicycling; Dr. Kimberly Carter, an Ob/Gyn, addressed the health impacts of coal plant pollution; and Texas State Representative Eddie Rodriquez told the crowd about weatherization workshops he's sponsoring. "When we weatherize our homes, they become more energy efficient, we consume less electricity, and burn less coal," Rodriguez said.
Participants gathered signitures and created photo petitions urging the EPA to intervene on TCEQ's unlawful permitting of 12 new coal plants in the state, and more than 100 ralliers posed for a group photo holding Quit Coal placards.
After the rally, Austin Sierra Club vice chair Roy Waley, Councilman Riley, and others led a Clean Energy Bike Tour, with the Austin Police Department providing escort. A group of 25 riders led by Sierra Clubbers Philip Russell and Jan Adler continued on to check out nearby Clean Energy Incubator locations.
The energy was sustained into the evening at a party at the Ghost Room downtown, where Waley and other local environmental leaders spoke, including Ryan Rittenhouse of Public Citizen, Erin Hickock of Austin EcoNetwork, and Drucilla Tigner of the University of Texas Environmental Center. Local Sierra Clubber Brittany McAllister took the opportunity to invite everyone to Green Mondays phoning parties for clean energy legislation at the Club's office.
"All in all, it was an awesome day of fun with a purpose," says Hoffman.
Photos by Amanda Miller. Read more about Roll Beyond Coal.