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Sierra Club says coal plant retirements save lives

The Sierra Club announced coal use is down to its lowest level in U.S. history, coming on the heels of the closures of two Ohio coal-fired plants.

The environmental group said the closure of the Dayton Power & Light’s Killen and Stuart plants in Adams County are the 250th and 251st plants closed nationwide since the Beyond Coal Campaign began in 2010. The plants will close by June 2018.

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“This milestone is a testament to the commitment Americans have to cleaner air and water — and the power of grassroots action to create healthier communities,” said Bruce Nilles, senior director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.

The group said the replacement of coal with clean energy has resulted in several health benefits. The Sierra Club claims since the campaign began, coal retirements have saved 6,888 lives; prevented 10, 694 heart attacks; and prevented 113,565 asthma attacks.

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“The rapid deployment of clean energy is unstoppable,” Nilles said. “What is missing in Ohio and too many communities is a plan to help the impacted workers and communities make the transition away from coal. As we mark this historic milestone, we must be honest that policy makers in places like Ohio are falling short of helping their states make this transition.”

Several community players have voiced concerns over the economic impact the closures will have in Adams County.

“There’s a huge financial impact headed our way, and frankly, it doesn’t feel like our concerns are being heard, in either Dayton or Columbus,” Michael Pell, president of First State Bank in Winchester, Ohio, told this news organization.

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