Celebrating Fossil Fools Day

As the movement builds to end coal power across the country, so does the fight against Duke Energy’s expansion of the Cliffside coal-fired power plant in Rutherford County. More than a dozen grass-roots environmental groups are [pressuring] Duke Energy’s CEO Jim Rogers to stop the [new] 800-MW coal-fired [unit] at Cliffside. And both Richard Moore and Beverly Perdue, Democratic candidates for governor, have said the plant can wait.

Along with the expansion, Duke Energy plans to close three smaller plants, but … the net effect will continue current levels of carbon emission—about 6 million tons per year. It will also evaporate 21 million gallons of water daily from the already drought-ridden Southeast region. The $2.4 billion price tag for the unnecessary new generator falls on ratepayer’s pockets, their health and the consequences of our climate crisis.

A national victory for people’s health and the environment, particularly in the Southeast, came Feb. 8, when the U.S. District Court of Appeals (D.C.) issued its decision that the EPA improperly removed coal-fired power plants from the hazardous air-pollution source list and vacated the EPA’s Delisting Rule. The decision also reinstated the EPA’s December 2000 “appropriate and necessary” finding-and-listing decision and invalidated the Bush Administration’s Clean Air Mercury Rule. This means … the EPA [must] develop—within two years—hazardous air-pollution standards named Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards. Vacating the Delisting Rule requires the roughly 120 new coal-fired power plants currently proposed in the United States—including Cliffside—to comply with case-by-case MACT requirements.

As a result of the court’s ruling, several groups are appealing the permit issued by the N.C. Division of Air Quality earlier this year. Duke Energy’s initial proposal does not comply with the mercury standards settled on through the MACT standards and is almost double that of the levels Cliffside currently emits.

For over a year, the N.C. Student Climate Coalition has been fighting Cliffside by writing to the N.C. Utilities Commission, participating in public hearings for air-quality permits, establishing a call-in day to Jim Rogers and Gov. Mike Easley, and holding a direct action outside the Duke Energy Headquarters in Charlotte (which received national attention).

For Fossil Fools Day—the national day of action to break free from fossil fuels—there will be a student-led rally at Freedom Park in Charlotte on Saturday, April 5, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Join students, politicians, grass-roots organizations, people of faith and climate-change experts in a demonstration to stop Duke Energy’s expansion of the Cliffside coal-fired power plant. Keep the pressure on and ensure that we transition into a clean-energy future.

— Nina Otter, Gideon Burdick and Kat Turner
On behalf of the Environmental Action Coalition
Warren Wilson College

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22 thoughts on “Celebrating Fossil Fools Day

  1. travelah

    If you succeed in your quest, what will be the “clean” energy sources consumed and reflected on my monthly electric bill?

  2. Eli Cohen

    Just your fair share pal. A new day is coming for you “profit at all costs, flat earth types”. Be a true conservative and conserve. (get your sweater out)

  3. travelah

    If I was a true liberal, my fair share would come out of your pocket. … I am more interested in having the proponents of this “clean energy” movement address the serious question of what is the source of their clean energy that will replace fossil fuel. Obviously you are not up to offering the alternative.

  4. Eli Cohen

    I can’t speak for the Environmental Action Coalition, but there are many alternatives and zero single solutions. Whats most important is that we reduce our dependence on petrol, and protect the environment with tighter regs on emissions. Freemarket solutions do not work for every problem.

  5. travelah

    Eli, you have not addressed my inquiry. What are the safe energy alternatives that will be reflected on my electric bill when fossil fuels are removed from the picture?

  6. Eli Cohen

    Okay, pay attention…I said there were many alternatives and zero single solutions. In other words, a “combination” of energy sources will be required and incrementally implemented. Also, auto makers will be forced to increase the fuel efficiency of their product, etc. Hey look, I’m not going to make this easy for you. Do your own research! As for your electric bill, how would I know…Why don’t you stop playing games and make some valid points? And no travelah, fossil fuels will not be out of the picture any time soon!

  7. travelah

    Eli, you are like every other short sighted liberal who rushes to judgment on a matter without knowing anything but the cover on the matter. The question I posed dealt with “safe energy sources” as proposed by the opening letter. Additionally, the Environmental Action Coalition proposes the elimination of fossil fuels. This raises the question of how do they define “safe energy sources” and what would be included or excluded. To move an economy away from a particular reliance to another obviously requires incremental steps. Even still there must be a picture of what the end result will entail lest fools rush off blindly.
    Currently, there is only one energy source that is technologically sufficient to meet the energy needs of this country reflected on the typical purchased power bill in this country. That is nuclear power generation. Wind power does not suffice. Environmentalists oppose expansion of water powered turbines sufficient to meet such demand. Solar will not meet the demand in large sectons of the country. Hydrogen fuel technology on that scale is several decades away if at all.
    This is why I ask what are the “safe sources”. Environmentalists have oppsed nuclear power in this country for decades so strenuously that expansion of this source has come to a virtual halt while the rest of the world procedes.If any rational group ponders the alternatives to reliance on fossil fuel (oil, coal, natural gas, LP, shale) they have to seriously consider and turn to nuclear energy. There is no other viable alternative in the picture now. Yet, nuclear has long been considered by environmental activists to be a “dirty energy” source.
    I have done enough homework on the issue to know that the activists, such as those of the opening letter, are reactionaries lacking long term vision and do not have the best interests of this country at heart.

  8. dave


    You seem to be making the assumption that we ‘need’ to replace fossil fuels. Most of the energy consumption in this country, and around the world, are a luxury, not a necessity. Power plants currently produce an excess of power, so that we can have the luxury of running our air-conditioners 24-7. What if reducing our use of fossil fuels meant we just use less energy? Is that conceivable? Why is ‘conservation’ such a difficult concept in this debate? Especially for those who claim to be ‘Conservatives’? I feel that, as a nation, we could consume A LOT less energy, by re-structuring the way our power-grid uses said energy.
    Your thoughts?
    And yes, Eli comes across as a whiny liberal. No doubt.


    Do you eat genetically modified foods from Monsanto, what is causing your cerebral deficit?
    You did get one thing right , albeit by happen stance. The environmentalists that you speak of do not have “the best interest of the country in mind”, that is a true statement, they are in many cases funded directly by the petrol chemical industries themselves!
    Environmentalists have been paid to suppress expanding new energy technologies, in order maintain the oil company’s status quo and monopolization of the enitre energy market. by preventing new or should I say, old alternative technologies from being implemented, which of course would be a death warrant for the huge petrol based multinational corporations that you worship.

    Ditto boneheads such as yourself fail to see this corporate subterfuge, instead, sheep, such as yourself, are trained to see everything in the context of a faked and contrived left right dialectic. I can just hear you like Elmer Fudd saying, those nasty ole rascal liberal environmentalist’s they just ruin everything for all of us,
    Environmentalists work for the oil companies, they are the paid and funded as professional fall guys, after all, there is a contrived faked oil shortage because of them, and this of course drives up profits and profit margins for the Petrol multinationals
    I would not expect someone such as yourself to be able to discern such things, as deductive reasoning and cognitive skills are required, after all, you are a ditto head and you can only repeat what your demigod programmers want you to believe.
    I have done my homework and the fix is in, environmentalists in many cases work for big oil, its that simple
    Its ten minutes to Limbaugh, go get your Rush fix. your going into withdrawl, pop an oxycotin tab while your at it, to get in the Limbaugh brain wave pattern

  10. travelah

    Dave, unless you can convince most people to significantly reduce their standard of living, energy consumption will only rise with increases in population. The objective of the activists is to eliminate fossil fuels as our primary source of energy generation. Conservation efforts could allow us to flat line energy consumption as populations increase but to remove fossil fuels from the picture will require a complete restructuring of how we live as well as where. Air-conditioning was the advance that brought about a historic shifting of populations into the southern climes. Do you really think this is going to change and revert back to a predominant northern population base? That is not at all likely in my opinion. All this would do would shift energy consumption from the summer months to the long winter heating period.
    I think it is clear that to make any significant reduction in fossil fuel consumption we have to shift to nuclear power. Such a strategy still leaves most of the world continuing on their fossil fuel consuming path particularly China and other developing industrial nations. Compared to those nations, we are an environmental nirvana. My point in these comments is that the activists opposing sound solutions to our energy issues are very short sighted and approach solutions with a bias against those solutions and ideas that will accomplish what they desire.

  11. dave


    I think the the objective of the activists is to change the direction of energy use in this country. No one of them have any delusions of ‘ending fossil fuels’ as much as they wish to highlight something in the public eye that rarely gets talked about; We can not safely and sustainably continue to produce and consume energy at our current level. Your suggestion for Nuclear is a very well-publicized option, but unfortunately altering our infrastructure to just USE LESS is generally banned from the debate. Nuclear is a proven dangerous option.

    In my opinion, I would like to see more practical debate about ALL of our options for safe energy production and use, not just options that support HUGE INDUSTRY.

    In addition, I find it interesting that people try to simplify the ‘protesters’ multi-faceted points into something simplistic enough to belittle and ignore.

    No, I don’t think we should all predominately live in the north. But neither do I think we should continue down a path that has obvious problems with safety and sustainablity. There are many points in between these two extremes, and they deserve serious debate and consideration.

    Why can’t we talk about using less without it sounding like we are returning to the stone age?? Do you really think the current path we are on will continue without any repercussions?

  12. Eli Cohen

    Travelah, what a bunch of mumbo-jumbo horse manure. First of all, no one said anything about nuclear power not being an option, and furthermore, what is your point? What activists are you referring to? Are you the real travelah? Because the travelah I know may be wrong most of the time, but he is concise and somewhat coherent!
    Maybe you should change your name to meanderah.

  13. david


    Our current “Standard of consumption’ is not sustainable. Period. It is not a god-given right to consume energy, and if we want to continue living on this planet, WE do need to figure out how to collectively consume far less. That is just how it is.


    Nuclear is not a sustainable option. There, I said it. Turning off the power is. And you’re catty comments really do nothing to promote civil, intelligent conversation or debate. You just give people like travelah an easy opportunity to pigeon-hole an entire movement. Take a big breath and exhale…

  14. Eli Cohen

    The travelah is a “bible thumpin’, business first, flat-earther” whose opinion will not be swayed…period. If the polar ice caps melt and the Atlantic is lapping at his doorstep, he will not believe in global warming. That said, I’m glad he continues to post his opinion and would miss his convoluted and erroneous reasoning; most of his kind are not so literate.
    And yes I agree that nuclear is not sustainable, but it would help us bridge the gap to future sustainability.

  15. travelah

    How would you propose our economy use less energy on the scale needed to phase out fossil fuels and not rely on nuclear energy? To put this in perspective, let’s look at Atlanta. What are the opportunities and possibilities that would reduce that city’s energy consumption by 50% without a serious and devastating economic impact on the region? Now, evaluate the economic cost and impact of those alternatives and apply a similar exercise across the country. The problem I see is that for an economy this size, the alternatives proposed by green activists only address the current incremental impacts on energy.
    Energy consumption is driven by economic and population growth. Conservation has an impact of course yet conservation doesn’t address population shifts. Asheville, like Atlanta, is a commuter city with huge numbers of people moving in and out of the cities each day, proportionately. Where I see the activists falling short is in providing viable solutions and proposals to accomplish what they desire. Again, we have to turn to the ony viable energy source capable on a large scale to accomplish their objectives. Cutting back on our personal consumption will not get us there.
    With hindsight, we can see that liberal activism is itself considerably responsible for the mess we are in now. Nuclear power has been opposed by shortsighted activists for 40 years while much of the rest of the western world has proceded. France for exampe generates the vast majority of it’s electric power by nuclear means. Had activists stepped back and assessed the issues, we could have addressed a sound strategy of efficient and technological superior power generation. Instead we are 40 years behind the curve with our energy cards in the hands of hostile cultures. Of course, this is water under the bridge however it would be incredibly foolish of us to once again allow our energy policies to be subverted by the whims of groups such as the Environmental Action Coalition at Warren Wilson College who offer no solutions while bemoaning what they perceive to be dire straits. Let the authors of the letter offer viable solutions for their “problem”.

  16. travelah

    David, the position of “thats just the way it is’ does not offer a sustainable plan of action. Furthermore, I do not think there is a consensus of opinion that agrees with you. The challenge is how to harness alternative sources of energy that meet GROWING demands. As I mentioned earlier, conservation deals with the incremental growth in energy use and can “possibly” reduce the need to produce further peak capacity.

    Wher are the solutions that justify an immediate shutdown of a plant such as Duke’s Cliffside?

  17. nuvue

    How would 6.00 a gal. gas do? People will only conserve when it really hits the pocketbook.

    This country needs MAJOR overhaul of mass transit, and fuel prices will drive people to use it,
    Atlanta has to get better mass transit, I have never seen such miserable traffic as that city. And people there endure it every day….Raleigh Charlotte, WS and every other city also.

  18. “And yes I agree that nuclear is not sustainable, but it would help us bridge the gap to future sustainability.”


    By doing what, core-meltdowns and the like? Toxic waste?

    Our energy is currently produced to make a profit and to stimulate Industry. We don’t need new power sources that pollute just like the old ones. We need to build our infrastructure to be practical and conservative in it’s energy use now. Until we stop building like we have for the last half-century or so, we will never discover the real Solutions. There is no way to continue paving, lighting and heating our way into the .

    Personally, I think the Baby-Boomers need to get over this science-fiction concept of perpetual growth and advancement in technology to solve all our ills. The future does not hold hover-cars and more and more cities. It holds collapsed infrastructures and Governments that cater to the fear that collapse will cause. These ‘activists’ are just hoping to shine a light on the serious discrepancy between what we know about the immediate future, and what we are doing to meet the problems of our time.

    Maybe there will be enough time to fix the problems after all the baby-boomers die off and we can finally get some real ‘progress’ accomplished. but i doubt it. Too bad we didn’t do anything about it before we squandered our collective resources on wal-mart toys and foreign wars. Oh well.

    Let’s either talk about using less as a society, or not talk about it at all.

  19. Eli Cohen

    Right on Sammule! Tell it like it is bro. Now, get off your behind and do something about it. Me, I’m too old and fat and stupid to effect any change. And by the way I’ve been over that concept of perpetual growth and advancement in technology since I joined the Communist Workers Party in 1977. Ever heard of “88 seconds in Greensboro”? Have you ever stood up for anything?

  20. david


    You joined a ‘workers union’ but you don’t work? Hmmmm… Typical old-guard Liberal. Let me guess, you wish to take over the factories and return the means of production to the workers, right?


    You make some good points, and obviously neither of us has the whole answer, but it would appear that you think ‘the economy’ takes precedent over everything else, including the laws of nature. I guess we will have to wait and see who is correct.

    May God Bless you in all Her Glory.

  21. Eli Cohen

    Yo Dave, Who said I didn’t work? And why do you assume I’m still a commie? Wrong on both counts…

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