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Burning the Future

Civil Society Institute * Sierra Club * Public Citizen

Feb. 21, 2008

Burning the Future

What Is the Energy Future of the U.S.?

AUSTIN, Texas – In an effort to draw more attention to global warming as a national issue that presidential candidates should address, three public interest organizations today held a screening of “Burning the Future,” a new documentary on coal mining.

The screening, held on the University of Texas campus in Austin, came on the same day as a national debate held at the university for Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The screening was arranged by the Civil Society Institute, the Sierra Club and Public Citizen as part of a “coal block” campaign designed to halt the construction of coal-plants in the U.S.

“Burning the Future” tells the stories of Appalachian families whose lives have been ruined by mountaintop coal mining. The film, directed by David Novack, exposes the dangerous aspects of our continued reliance on coal. It premieres Feb. 29 in New York City and March 7 in Los Angeles.

“Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain have promised to reduce global warming, but they haven’t recognized the enormous cultural and ecological destruction caused by mountaintop removal coal mining,” said Vivian Stockman, project coordinator for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. Stockman attended Thursday’s screening.

“In Texas we’ve suffered the air quality, global warming and toxic mercury impacts of 19 existing coal plants and have been ground zero for proposals for over a dozen new coal plants.  We need strong leadership that will stop new coal plants and bring us into a carbon-free future,” says Cyrus Reed, conservation director of the Lone Star Chapter of Sierra Club.

The groups are calling for a moratorium on mountaintop removal and the suspension of permitting of new coal-fired electricity generating plants.

“We should be putting our resources into developing energy efficient generation methods, such as wind and solar,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office. “It is sheer folly for us to continue to open new coal plants when the greenhouse gases they emit are destroying our planet.”