Sierra Club activists put heat on Martinez, PRC


By Shrayas Jatkar
Beyond Coal organizing representative

Many things led to the acknowledgement by PNM and the Martinez administration that coal is the fuel of the past.

Without the constant public pressure exerted by Rio Grande Chapter members and friends, the decision to reduce the deadly coal pollution at San Juan Generating Station simply would not have happened.

New Mexico’s Beyond Coal to Clean Energy campaign included national program staff, local volunteers, and diverse partner groups.

Sierra Club organized rallies and actions in the spring and fall of 2012 to demonstrate the broad public demand for a transition away from coal and toward more clean energy in New Mexico.

We used social-media tactics such as a “Facebook bombing” in which hundreds of activists posted comments — i.e., a demand to phase out the San Juan coal plant and replace it with solar, wind, and energy efficiency — on our main target’s Facebook page.

In addition, members filled public hearings in Albuquerque and Farmington, communicating our message for a transition away from coal and toward more clean energy.

The Sierra Club produced print, radio, and billboard ads in strategic locations around the
state, and many volunteers as well as prominent local leaders wrote op-eds and letters to the editor voicing their concern over coal.

A diverse array of crucial partners in this campaign includes SouthWest Organizing Project, Organizers in the Land of Enchantment, National Parks Conservation Organization, San Juan Citizens Alliance and Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment.

The Sierra Club and several allied groups are also co-litigants with the EPA against PNM and the state of New Mexico over San Juan pollution controls, and our place in court stands pending a review of whether the closure of these two units meets the Clean
Air Act.