March 2 Protest Planned at D.C. Power Plant

A national coalition of more than 40 environmental, public health, labor, social justice, faith-based, and other advocacy groups on Feb. 3 announced plans to engage in civil disobedience at the Capitol Power Plant in Washington D.C. on the afternoon of March 2. The Capitol Climate Action (CCA), the largest mass mobilization on global warming in the country's history, reflects the growing public demand for bold action to address the climate and energy crises.

"The Capitol Climate Action comes not a moment too soon. For more than 30 years, scientists, environmentalists and people from all walks of life have urged our leaders to take action to stop global warming; and that action has yet to come," said James Hansen, Ph.D., a leading climate scientist. Hansen will join the protest. "Coal is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country and that must change. The world is waiting for the Obama administration and Congress to lead the way forward on this defining issue of our time. They need to start by getting coal out of Congress."

The Capitol Power Plant, which is owned by Congress and sits just blocks from the American seat of power, burns coal to heat and cool numerous buildings on Capitol Hill. The facility no longer generates electricity but its reliance on coal – the country's biggest source of global warming pollution and a documented health hazard – has made it the focus of political controversy and a powerful symbol of coal's stranglehold impact on the environment and public health.

"This demonstration marks the beginning of a sustained effort to draw a line in the sand against this dirty and dangerous fuel," said Matt Leonard of Greenpeace, which is helping to organize the protest. "Our leaders cannot promise us a healthy and prosperous future as long as coal is polluting our soil, water, and atmosphere."

In response to public pressure, the House of Representatives converted half of the plant's fuel to cleaner natural gas. But attempts to remove coal from the fuel mix entirely have been blocked by powerful coal-state Sens. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

For more information, visit www.capitolclimateaction.org.

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