Oxford, OH: This week, Miami University of Ohio announced it would immediately begin reducing the amount of coal burned on campus and eventually eliminate it altogether, validating the demands of Miami students who had worked for months to pressure the university to improve local health by abandoning coal.
“The momentum and power of this movement has proven itself time and again,” said Christian Adams, a junior at Miami and a representative of Miami Beyond Coal. “Dirty coal power is clearly on its way out of both American campuses and communities. History is on our side.”
Miami’s decision – the fourth in Ohio this year alone – underlines a strong trend of schools in the state and across the country moving to reduce dangerous pollution and mitigate financial uncertainty by ruling out the future use of coal as an energy source. Just last week, Ohio University announced it would move beyond coal by 2016. Last summer, Case Western Reserve University announced it would also eliminate coal in its district heating system; this was followed in January by Oberlin College, which published a plan that calls for its coal plant to be eliminated in favor of landfill gas.
“This exciting move by Miami shows that young people in Ohio aren’t sitting idly by, waiting for campuses to protect our health and move beyond coal,” said Janina Klimas, coordinator of the Ohio Student Environmental Coalition. “Instead, students across the state are stepping up and organizing on their own campuses to make that transition a reality.”
Despite Miami’s strong commitment to move beyond coal, the deadline of 2025 set by the administration still falls far below commitments made by Miami’s peer institutions. Miami students and allies will continue to engage the administration to lock in additional goals for clean energy and to move up the 2025 sunset date for the coal plant.
“Every year that coal is burned on campus means more asthma, more lung disease, and more heart problems for local residents,” said Nachy Kanfer, Midwest Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “That’s why we’ll keep pushing to eliminate coal as soon as possible.”
The Sierra Student Coalition has been instrumental in moving campuses across the Nation off coal. Miami University joins the ranks of Cornell University, Penn State University, Case Western Reserve University,Ohio University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Clemson University, Oberlin College, University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University, Eastern Illinois University, Western Illinois University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Missouri University of Science & Technology, SUNY-Binghamton, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“This victory at Miami University is proof that students are helping to lead the fight for clean energy,” said Mary Anne Hitt. “Nationwide young people are working to move their campuses and communities beyond coal to clean energy solutions – and they are winning.”
The students who have fought to move these campuses beyond coal are many of the same who will be gathering next week to participate in Power Shift, where over 10,000 young leaders will converge on Washington, DC to stand together to help push the nation to move beyond dirty energy sources that are harming the health of people and the planet. The New Organizing Institute, the Sierra Club and Energy Action Coalition will guide over 5,000 young people in building teams, telling their stories and developing leaders. On Monday April 18th, participants will rally at the capitol to challenge those who stand in the way of progress towards building a clean energy future. For More information visit www.powershift2011.org.
See local coverage of the transition in the Miami Student: http://www.miamistudent.net/news/campus/miami-to-phase-out-coal-use-1.2141440