Whether through regulations enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or efforts by  activists including the Sierra Club, working to cancel old or yet-to-be-built coal-fired power plants is proving to be a leading way of reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

This Sierra Club campaign is active in numerous states. Images courtesy of Sierra Club.

With climate legislation dead in Congress and the international COP 16 climate talks underway in Cancun, Mexico expected to produce nothing of substance, efforts such as Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” and “Stopping the Coal Rush” could feed off of forecasts of low prices for natural gas for several years and accelerate its efforts.

According to SourceWatch, 10 coal-fired power plants and/or coal processing plants have been nixed thus far in 2010. That comes after 23 plants were cancelled in 2009, 24 in 2008 and 59 in 2007. These totals don’t include the coal plants that are to be phased out in the coming years.  Between 2000 and 2006, more than 150 coal plant proposals were fielded by utilities in the United States.

Sierra Club protesters in eastern Kentucky got their way Nov. 18.

The most recent cancellation came November 18, 2010 when the East Kentucky Power Cooperative agreed to halt plans to build two coal-burning power plants in Clark County. Much of the credit for this cancellation is attributable to the Sierra Club, Kentucky Environmental Foundation, and Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, along with individual activists Wendell Berry, Father John Rausch, and Dr. John A. Patterson.

Keep track of coal plants still on the drawing boards here.

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