The first-ever limits of air toxics, toxic wastewater, coal ash, and haze pollution from coal-fired power plants were achieved through years-long litigation and advocacy by Earthjustice attorneys, in collaboration with our partners.
Earthjustice is at the center of the essential fight to transform our country’s energy sector into one that is clean, renewable, and modern.
The coal industry managed for decades to avoid cleaning up its mess by hiring well-paid lobbyists and lawyers to create and exploit loopholes in our nation’s environmental laws. Earthjustice is changing that dynamic.
In the 1970s, one of our earliest victories against coal pollution forced the withdrawal of plans to build “Kaiparowits,” a goliath power plant in southern Utah. We didn’t stop there. In the years since, we’ve stopped plans to build dirty coal-fired power plants throughout the country, from Florida to the heart of coal country.
By exposing the true costs of fossil fuels — air pollution alone from coal plants kills thousands of Americans each year — we have driven many old, inefficient plants to retire, clearing the path for wind and solar.
After years of fighting coal pollution, Earthjustice formally established the Coal Program in the early 2000's, when the country was in the middle of a wave of more than 150 proposed new coal plants. The vast majority were defeated.
Now, we are working to retire the existing aging coal fleet. With more than 200 coal plants to date retired or scheduled to retire, we are winning. But with gigawatts of coal capacity still operating and polluting, and more than 1,400 toxic coal ash ponds and dumps littering our nation, the fight continues.
The Cheswick coal-fired power plant in Pennsylvania. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)