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Air disperson modeling reveals SO2 pollution at concentrations higher than what the EPA considers a safe level (196 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3)).

Shaded areas include locations where SO2 concentrations were calculated at:

between 196 and 299 ug/m3 (yellow)
between 300 and 399 ug/m3 (orange)
between 400 and 499 ug/m3 (red)
500 ug/m3 and higher (purple)


Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant has threatened local public health for decades. Now, new evidence demonstrates that the plant has been emitting harmful sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution at levels considered unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency for the past several years. An air modeling study by Air Resource Specialists shows that concentrations of SO2 in the air near people’s homes downwind of the Asheville plant are up to 3.5 times higher than what EPA has determined to be safe. The plant’s pollution has exceeded these minimum public health standards approximately one out of every three to four days since 2010. An analysis of operations at the plant points to the two causes of this increased pollution: Duke apparently has been running its pollution protection technology less and, at the same time, has switched to cheaper, higher-sulfur coal. The likely reason for these changes is to reduce the cost of running this plant, which is one of Duke’s most expensive to operate. 

Duke is choosing profits over the safety of our families by apparently failing to run its control protections fully and by using cheaper coal with more sulfur in it.

Read the full reports.

Sign our petition to tell Duke: It’s time to take responsibility for this pollution and protect the health of our community—not just some of the time, but all the time.


Community Outreach Canvassing

Sign up to help Asheville Beyond Coal with community outreach canvassing on air pollution around Asheville, NC.

Our first canvasser training is: Date: February, 21, 2015 Time: Noon-2pm

Place: Sierra Club offices, 34 Wall Street Asheville NC 28804

(Hot drinks and light snacks provided!)

Even if you can't join us for the training on February 21, 2015, sign up here to get involved!


Yogis Beyond Coal

Local activist group Yogis Beyond Coal joined with Sierra Club to co-host an event in Pack Square Park in Asheville, highlighting community concerns with the local coal-fired power plant. The gathering, called Move for the Movement, sought to underscore that healthy living and clean energy are two sides of the same coin for Asheville residents... Read more via MXpress.


Asheville Beyond Coal Testimonials

Thank you to community members who are spreading the word about a clean energy future here in Asheville and Western North Carolina.


Learn about how you can join the conversation:


Years Project Screenings

From the Asheville Green Carpet Premiere:

Asheville City Council Member Gwen Wisler and Buncombe County Commissioner Brownie Newman

Representative Joe Sam Queen with WNCA's Julie Mayfield and Anna Jane Joyner

Emma Greenbaum, Julie Mayfield, Kelly Martin, Mary Anne Hitt, Anna Jane Joyner, and Dayna Reggero of Asheville Beyond Coal Coalition

From the Charlotte "Preacher's Daughter" Screening:

Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal Campaign Director talks with FOX Carolinas

Panel discussion in Charlotte

From the Asheville "Preacher's Daughter" Screening:

Melissa Williams of WNCA, Asheville Beyond Coal Coalition

Showtime's Years of Living Dangerously episode four, "Preacher's Daughter," features Asheville Beyond Coal Coalition's Anna Jane Joyner of the Western North Carolina Alliance, celebrity correspondent Ian Somerhalder, and Beyond Coal campaign director Mary Anne Hitt. Go behind-the-scenes: Filming locations included the Asheville Beyond Coal rally and Duke Energy's Asheville coal plant.

Thank you to Highland Brewing Company, French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Katuah Market, New Mountain Music Park, and Gypsy Queen Cuisine Food Truck.


National Spotlight on Duke Energy's Asheville Coal Plant

Tune in tonight at 10PM for Showtime's Years of Living Dangerously!

Why is this important? “Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant is the largest source of climate-disrupting pollution in Western North Carolina,” says Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal campaign director and #YearsProject expert. “Doubling down on renewable energy and energy efficiency is the quickest, most effective way to roll back the worst effects of climate disruption.”

As the national spotlight shines on Duke Energy, we want to thank them for considering a plan to retire the Asheville coal plant that threatens the health of our residents and the livelihood of our mountains and rivers.

If Duke Energy meets the demands of the community and phases out its coal plant, the Asheville plant will be the 163rd plant in the nation to be retired since 2010.

Let's move Beyond Coal to a clean energy future! Take action now!


Spread the word: Showtime presents Years of Living Dangerously featuring Asheville Beyond Coal Sunday, May 4th at 10PM.

Join the conversation right now!


Light the Path Forward : April 30 Candlelight Vigil to Remember the Impacts of Coal Ash and Climate Change **Cancelled due to weather**

Make plans to also join the Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting Rally and Press Conference on Thursday, May 1st. 8:30 AM arrive and set up for 9:00 AM rally and press conference. Located at the former Duke Energy headquarters, 526 South Church St, Charlotte, NC (location of shareholder meeting). Details:


WNC Faith Community Letter to Duke Energy in Asheville Citizen-Times

Editor’s note: The following letter was submitted to the Citizen-Times by clergy from about 70 area congregations. Some of them will attend the Duke Energy shareholder meeting on May 1 in Charlotte to deliver this letter to Duke leaders in person.

"We are writing as leaders of local churches and faith communities. We feel obliged to act as faithful stewards of God’s creation. We write today because we need your leadership to achieve a sustainable future where our energy needs are met without depending on fossil fuels" ... Read the full letter.


Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill Protest

Clean water advocates and environmental groups from North Carolina delivered nine thousand petitions to Duke Energy, calling on the nation’s largest energy company to act immediately to protect North Carolina’s drinking water and take full responsibility for the costs of the Dan River coal ash spill and ongoing coal ash contamination across the state. Event speakers, representing tens of thousands of members and supporters in North Carolina, made it clear that Duke Energy shareholders, not customers, should pay to clean up the company’s 13 additional outdated and risky coal ash storage pits across the state.

Duke Energy owns and operates 14 coal ash disposal sites in North Carolina, eight of which are rated high-hazard, meaning a breach has a high likelihood of causing death or serious injuries for people.


Hollywood Highlights Asheville Beyond Coal Campaign

Nearly 300 hundred people gathered in Asheville this evening for the green carpet premiere of “Years of Living Dangerously,” a groundbreaking SHOWTIME® documentary series exploring the human impact of climate change. The series highlights the work of the Asheville Beyond Coal coalition through the story of activist, Anna Jane Joyner.

“Years of Living Dangerously” is composed of several one-hour segments airing on SHOWTIME®, starting April 13. The series combines the storytelling styles of Hollywood’s top movie makers to reveal critical stories of heartbreak, hope and heroism as the race to save the planet continues.

Following the film, both Joyner and Beyond Coal campaign director Mary Anne Hitt, as well as the Asheville audience, joined James Cameron, Chris Hayes, Ian Somerhalder and the producers of the series through for a question and answer session on Google+.

Joyner, her father Rick Joyner, and Mary Anne were interviewed by actor/activist Ian Somerhalder for an upcoming segment titled “Preacher’s Daughter,” airing May 4.

The Asheville Beyond Coal Coalition is celebrating its two year mark, as Duke Energy is publicly considering a plan to phase out the coal-burning units at its Asheville plant.

“Over the last two years, a grassroots movement of faith leaders, business leaders and public officials has sprung up to show that burning coal in our backyard does not match our community’s values,” says Kelly Martin, Sierra Club senior campaign representative.

The Asheville event, held at Highland Brewing Co., was hosted by Asheville Beyond Coal and its partners: Sierra Club, Western North Carolina Alliance, Transition Asheville, French Broad Riverkeeper, Southwings and Accelerating Appalachia. Big thanks to event sponsors: Highland Brewing Company, French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Sweet Monkey Bakery and Katuah Market.

To learn more about “Years of Living Dangerously” and to see a preview of “Preacher’s Daughter, visit:

Years of Living Dangerously Series Premiere

Watch Years of Living Dangerously Episode 1 Series Premiere below before the big premiere Sunday, April 13th on Showtime. And, don't miss the upcoming Preacher's Daughter episode about Asheville's Anna Jane Joyner, Western North Carolina Alliance Coordinator, and featuring expert, Beyond Coal Campaign Director, Mary Anne Hitt. Check out a sneak preview of Preacher's Daughter here.

“Now, when I think of climate change I don’t think of polar bears or glaciers or graphs, I think of the loss of our high elevation mountain forests, the loss of species and ecosystems that make our Blue Ridge Mountains some of the most beautiful and special in the world. I think of my neighbors who are farmers and lost much of their crop, and profits, to the torrential floods we experienced last summer.” - Anna Jane Joyner talks about filming #YearsProject.


Years of Living Dangerously features Asheville Beyond Coal 

The new #YearsProject website has launched and offers "What We Can Do" section with call to action to move beyond coal!


Duke Energy Offers Plan to Remove Dangerous Coal Ash Pits, Considers Retiring Asheville Coal Plant

Thursday, March 13, 2014

CHARLOTTE, NC – In response to Governor Pat McCrory’s request, Duke Energy has shared its plan to address ongoing dangerous and illegal pollution at all of its coal ash storage sites in North Carolina.

Senior Campaign Representative Kelly Martin issued the following statement in response:

“On behalf of the Sierra Club’s thousands of North Carolina members and supporters, I want to recognize Duke Energy’s leadership for taking responsibility for the tragic Dan River coal ash spill. CEO Lynn Good has made it clear that she and the company realize that wet storage of toxic coal ash waste is dangerous, threatening our clean water and treasured lakes, rivers and streams. Converting risky wet storage at all coal ash waste sites is a strong first step toward cleaning up Duke Energy’s toxic legacy in North Carolina.

On behalf of thousands of Asheville and Buncombe County residents, I applaud Duke Energy for publicly considering a plan to phase out the coal-burning units at its Asheville plant. Over the last two years, a grassroots movement of faith leaders, business leaders and public officials has sprung up to show that burning coal in our backyard does not match our community’s values. If Duke Energy meets the demands of the community and phases out its coal plant, the Asheville plant will be the 163rd plant in the nation to be retired since 2010. Moving Asheville beyond coal is a critical step for Duke Energy as it takes responsibility for its errors and sets a new path forward.

Finally, while Duke Energy’s plan is a good first step, it is incomplete and does not fully rise to the challenge presented. Without more information, North Carolinians cannot be sure that their right to clean, safe drinking water will be protected. Without a clear commitment, hard-working families cannot be sure that one of the nation’s most prosperous companies won’t pass the buck. As the Sierra Club and our partners in North Carolina have demonstrated, environmental advocates are key voices for holding polluters and regulators accountable. We are only beginning to show the strength of our voices for North Carolina’s people and environment.”




RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Internal emails show coordination between Duke Energy and NC officials on coal ash lawsuits.


Asheville Green Drinks

Join us Wednesday March 12th at 6PM at the Green Sage Coffeehouse and Cafe for an update on “Coal ash: In our back yard and beyond” presented by Joan Walker of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Anna Jane Joyner of Western North Carolina Alliance.



Women's History Month

We're excited about Womens History Month. There are so many amazing women working to make the world a better place. Here's a great list of Women of the Sierra Club, including Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal director. Hitt was honored by SNL Energy as one of ten most influential people in 2013 for her pioneering work to move the nation off polluting 19th Century fuels and onto clean sources of energy like wind and solar. Here she is above with actor Ian Somerhalder (IS Foundation) at Duke Energy's Asheville coal plant during an interview for Showtime Network's upcoming docu-series, Years of Living Dangerously



Duke must act on ash contamination, judge rules

Read more here:

Duke Energy must take “immediate action” to stop groundwater contamination from its coal ash ponds, a Wake County judge ruled Thursday.

“It means (Duke) has to do whatever is necessary to stop these ash ponds from continuing to act as a source of contamination,” said D.J. Gerken, a Southern Environmental Law Center attorney representing environmental groups in the case.

That standard applies to both active and retired ash ponds, Ridgeway wrote. Duke has 33 ash ponds in all.

Read article here:

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Read more here:

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"YEARS of LIVING DANGEROUSLY is global warming like you’ve never seen it before.  Coming to SHOWTIME in April, this multi-part television event tells the biggest story of our time: climate change and the impact it's having on people right now in the US and all over the world.  Over the course of eight episodes, we’ll report on the crippling effects of climate change-related weather events and the ways individuals, communities, companies and governments are struggling to find solutions to the biggest threat our world has ever faced.  An all-star cast of correspondents goes into the field—to Texas, Kansas, California, Colorado, New York, Maine, Montana, Washington, the Carolinas, Florida, the Middle East, Africa, the Andes, the North Pole, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the South Pacific—to meet the people and see the places affected by climate change." (via

Celebrities including Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, Don Cheadle, Olivia Munn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, America Ferrera, and more are acting as correspondents to share these climate stories and solutions from around the world.

Watch for Ian Somerhalder (Lost, Vampire Diaries) interviewing Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal director, and Anna Jane Joyner, Western North Carolina Alliance activist. Parts of the episode are set right here in Asheville, NC, including Duke Energy's Lake Julian coal plant. In 2013, City of Asheville unanimously passed a clean energy resolution. In 2014, community members are asking Duke Energy NC to stop living dangerously and move beyond coal to a clean energy future.

Stay tuned for updates about this exciting project!



Feds look into criminal investigation of DENR on Dan River coal ash spill

RALEIGH, N.C. — Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into a massive coal ash spill into the Dan River.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh issued a grand jury subpoenas demanding records from Duke Energy and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The subpoenas seek emails, memos and reports from 2010 through the Feb. 2 spill.

The Associated Press obtained a copy on Thursday of the subpoena issued to the state. A Duke spokesman confirmed the company had also received one.

The spill at a Duke Energy plant in Eden spewed enough toxic sludge into the river to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools. It was the third-largest coal ash spill in U.S. history.

Prosecutors ordered the state environmental agency's chief lawyer to appear next month before a grand jury.

Read article here:


Duke Energy hosts Green Drinks

Join us Wednesday March 19th at 6PM at Posana Cafe for a Duke Energy Roundtable discussion on Net Metering and Duke Energys New Solar Initiative with presenters from Duke Energy and President and CEO of Sundance Power, Dave Hollister.


Duke Energy in the News


ABC WLOS, "Asheville coal ash concerns," Feb. 7, 2014

Asheville Citizen Times, "Coal ash disaster: Could it happen here?" Feb. 9, 2014

North Carolina:

Charlotte Observer, "NC river turns to gray sluge after coal ash spill," Feb. 5, 2014

North Carolina Health News, "Coal ash spill releases tons of waste, but unlined ponds present ongoing problem," Feb. 7, 2014


Washington Post, "Duke starts dredging river as coal ash deal dumped," Feb. 11, 2014

MSNBC Rachel Maddow, "Warnings ignored ahead of toxic NC spill," Feb. 10, 2014

CNN, "Spill spews tons of coal ash into North Carolina River," Feb. 9, 2014

TreeHugger, "Former Duke Power CEO: I'd want to work in solar," Feb. 7, 2014

Bloomberg Businessweek, "Duke Energy wants to pay less for NC solar," Jan. 24, 2014


Asheville Beyond Coal in the news! 

Our very own WNCA Campaign Coordinater and coalition partner Anna Jane Joyner in the news, talking faith, fame and climate change.

Check out the full article here:

Anna Jane and the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign will be part of an upcoming Showtime documentary on climate change, Years of Living Dangerously. Check out the trailer here:


TOMORROW! Our second Yogis Beyond Coal event is sure to be soul-nourishing and inspiring. 

Help Move Asheville Beyond Coal into a Green Energy Future!

Talk, Kirtan & Yoga Practice
with Kelly Martin, Michael Johnson and Lisa Sherman
FREE (donations welcome)

With tea by Dobra Tea (Asheville, NC) and chocolates from French Broad Chocolate Lounge.

Saturday November 23rd, 2013
From 5-7pm
at Asheville Yoga Center, 211 S Liberty St

RSVP here!

Find out how yogis can help in the campaign to move Asheville beyond coal-fired electricity and into a sustainable, green energy future!

1) Get informed about the problem.

Kelly Martin of the Beyond Coal campaign will outline how Asheville's coal-powered electricity plant is contributing to pollution, health problems and climate change.

2) Find out how you can be a part of the solution.

Kelly will explain how yogis like you can play an important part in the Beyond Coal movement, which is already winning successes all over the country. 

4) Become a yoga-powered green energy activist!

Ösel (Michael & Stephanie Johnson and friends) will lead an inspiring Kirtan, and Lisa Sherman will guide you in a nourishing yoga practice, both designed to renew your own energy resources, so that you can feel empowered to connect with your community, and take effective action to combat climate change.


Asheville City Council votes on clean energy resolution!


This is a game changer. On Oct. 22, city council will vote on whether or not to support a resolution to start planning a transition off of the Asheville Coal Plant.


WHO: Asheville City Council, Sierra Club, and you!
WHAT: City Council Meeting
WHEN: Tuesday, Oct 22, 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: City Council Chamber, City Hall Building [Map]

Duke Energy's Asheville Coal Plant is the largest single source of climate disruption pollution in Western North Carolina, and after this vote we could have the opportunity to start in on planning a real transition off of coal and onto clean energy. 

City council needs to see a huge showing of support for this vote. Just by showing up, you can help us show our council members that Asheville is committed to ending coal burning in Western North Carolina. 


Questions? Want to speak at the hearing? Contact Emma Greenbaum at


This Friday! Oct. 18th, join us to take action, stay for the yoga...

Join us at the Asheville Yoga Center donation studio for Yogis Beyond Coal
Tea from Dobra Tea and French Broad chocolates will be provided.
Friday 18th October, 2013
From 6-8pm
at Asheville Yoga Donation Studio

Check out our Facebook event here to RSVP!:

Help move Asheville Beyond Coal into a green energy future!
Talk, Kirtan & Yoga Practice,
with Michael Johnson and Kelly Martin.
FREE/by donation

1) Get informed about the problem.

Kelly Martin of the Beyond Coal campaign will outline how Asheville's coal-powered electricity plant is contributing to pollution, health problems and climate change.

2) Find out how you can be a part of the solution.

Kelly will explain how yogis like you can play an important part in the Beyond Coal movement, which is already winning successes all over the country. 

You will also gain practical advice on how you can affordably move your own home beyond coal and onto solar power.

4) Become a yoga-powered green energy activist!

Michael Johnson will lead a kirtan and yoga practice designed to renew your own energy resources, so that you can connect with your community, and take effective action to combat climate change.



Asheville Beyond Coal is part of a national movement to retire coal fired power plants and move to clean, renewable energy. Let's make Duke Energy's Asheville coal plant #151!

Sierra Club members, supporters, partners and allies have worked tirelessly to retire 150 coal-fired power plants since January 2010 -- a significant milestone in the campaign to move the country beyond dirty and outdated fossil fuels. Thousands of activists have come together to help save their communities from dangerous pollution from coal-fired power plants. These plants not only hurt our air, our water, and our health but also our wallets. The retirement of these coal-fired power plants will help save lives, prevent asthma and heart attacks, and save billions in health costs. While these antiquated coal plants are being retired, the U.S. is ramping up production of clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar. This is a huge win for our communities and for future generations.

Thank you Asheville! 

Together we will move Western North Carolina to a clean energy future.

Check out the video from our rally on August 24th in downtown Asheville! This rally was also filmed by Showtime and may appear in upcoming docu-series, Years of Living Dangerously.

On Saturday, August 24, hundreds of Asheville residents and clean energy supporters in North Carolina rallied in a packed park space downtown as Beyond Coal Campaign Director Mary Anne Hitt joined Ian Somerhalder, star of "The Vampire Diaries" and a passionate environmental activist. Mary Anne led a text message action with hundreds of participants calling on Duke Energy to retire its Asheville coal plant, the largest source of carbon pollution in Western North Carolina. Ian inspired the ralliers by calling for America, especially the South, to double down on clean energy and build our economy with good clean energy jobs.

Learn More

The Asheville Coal Plant is the largest single source of CO2 pollution in Western North Carolina. With record high temperatures accross the country, raging wildfires in the Southwest and disasters like Superstorm Sandy, it is clear that climate disruption is happening right now. Even here in WNC, we are at risk of losing precious eco-systems, and suffering from increasingly strong storms.

In order to protect our environment and communities from the dangers of coal including climate disruption, the Western North Carolina Alliance, North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light, Southwings, Riverkeeper, and the Sierra Club are proud to be founding members of the Asheville Beyond Coal Coalition.

United as a coalition, we seek to:

  • Lead a transition from the use of fossil fuel energy to a reliance on clean, safe and renewable energy sources
  • Make energy conservation and efficiency a priority in reducing energy demand in Western North Carolina
  • Replace jobs dependent on fossil fuels with jobs centered on conservation, efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
  • Secure retirement of the Asheville Coal Plant and clean-up of any legacy pollution, including the coal ash lagoons  

In addition to the threat to our global climate, the plant’s two toxic coal-ash lagoons above I-26 and the French Broad River are seeping into the groundwater, threatening the river and our community.  Air pollution from coal-burning power plants makes our kids sick. Nationally, coal pollution is responsible for triggering 13,000 asthma attacks and more than $100 billion in health costs each year.  This coal plant is too dirty and dangerous for Asheville.


Check out community leaders supporting the transition to a clean energy economy: