For Immediate Release

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Brian Willis, 202.675.2386,

Sierra Club Launches Ad Campaign Against Trump Administration Efforts to Bail Out Dirty, Uneconomic Coal Plants


WASHINGTON - The Sierra Club announced today that it will be launching a five-figure digital advertising campaign against the Trump Administration’s efforts to force taxpayers and electricity customers to pay tens of billions of dollars to bail out uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. The advertisements will run on Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook, and will be geographically targeted to viewers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest  who are likely to bear the most significant costs of a bailout.

“We’re launching this digital advertising campaign to fight the Trump Administration’s ridiculous obsession with propping up dirty, expensive coal plants that are increasingly being replaced by cleaner, cheaper competitors like solar and wind,” said Jonathan Levenshus, Sierra Club’s Senior Campaign Representative for Federal Strategy. “Bailing out the dying coal industry has already been rejected by FERC once, and this latest scam has been universally panned for good reason. It's the equivalent of trying to bringing back the whale oil industry to replace electric light bulbs."

The announcement comes on the heels of recent media reports that Donald Trump is considering nominating Bernard McNamee, a current senior DOE official and strong proponent of the the administration’s previous failed bailout attempt, to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). McNamee’s consideration spawned an immediate backlash and accusations that the Trump Administration was attempting to politicize the historically independent regulatory body in order to bail out coal plant owners who supported his 2016 presidential campaign.


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“Coal plant retirements are  the result of electricity markets weeding out inefficient, expensive, and dirty resources and replacing them with cleaner, cheaper technologies that customers are demanding,” said Levenshus. “With no serious justification, the Trump Administration is trying to blow up this time tested process for billions of dollars in costs, all so that a handful of billionaire executives can keep these dinosaur plants, which pollute wide swaths of our country, open for a few more years. It’s not only reckless and irresponsible, it’s also an ethics red flag.” 

The advertisements will link to a video titled, “5 Reasons That Trump's Big Coal Bailout Is A Bad Idea,” and prompt viewers to sign a petition against the bailouts. The advertisements will run until the end of September and may be extended beyond that.


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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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