For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Sierra Club Launches Ad Campaign After FERC Chairman Endorses Bailout for Uneconomic Coal, Nuclear Plants

WASHINGTON - Sierra Club launched a new video advertising campaign today against Secretary of Energy Rick Perry’s directive to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that will force millions of Americans to pay billions of dollars to prop up old, uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. The campaign was launched in response to FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee’s recent insistence that an interim bailout be issued by the commission by December 11. The video advertisements will run on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google Display, and will be targeted to electricity customers in the states most impacted by the bailout.  

“Rick Perry’s bailout directive to FERC, which is supposed to be an independent agency, is outrageous enough, but the fact that commissioners are actually considering even an interim bailout with no evidence that calls for it is appalling. We are launching this ad campaign to let the rate paying public know just how appalling this bailout is,” said Mary Anne Hitt, Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “There is no evidence whatsoever that these uncompetitive coal and nuclear plants are needed for reliability and they should be phased out if they can’t compete with cheap, clean energy sources like solar and wind. Perry’s directive is nothing but a boldfaced political ‘thank you’ payment to Donald Trump’s campaign funders who want to recover some costs from these money losing fossil fuel power plants.”

Perry’s directive has been widely panned by former FERC commissioners, energy generation trade groups, regional grid operators, and power companies as a politically motivated bailout that will destroy energy markets. Additionally, documents uncovered by Sierra Club through Freedom of Information Act requests have shown that Perry’s directive to FERC is connected to numerous private asks from coal companies to the Department of Energy to find ways to bailout coal plants that are no longer needed after clean energy’s record setting growth over the past decade.  

“Our ad campaign is a clear response to Chairman Chatterjee’s efforts to force millions of working families and businesses to bailout uneconomic coal and nuclear plants,” Hitt said. “The coal and nuclear industry have had their fingerprints all over this directive from day one, and it’s time for FERC to show some backbone and say no. The commissioners are duty bound to make their decisions based on real evidence and the needs of America’s electricity customers, not on the profits of Donald Trump’s campaign contributors.”

The advertisements will begin running today in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Vermont, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Connecticut - where many of the coal and nuclear facilities that are eligible to be bailed out are located. The cost of bailing these plants out will be born by local electricity customers in these states.


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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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