Local Business Community Unites in Call for Clean Energy Economy
Friday, October 17, 2014

Adam Beitman, Sierra Club, (202) 675-2385 or adam.beitman@sierraclub.org
Melissa Williams, Western North Carolina Alliance, 828-258-8737 x 216 or Melissa@WNCA.org

Medea Galligan's business is located near Duke's coal-fire power plant.

Medea Galligans business is located near Dukes coal-fired power plant in South Asheville.

ASHEVILLE, NC – Eighty businesses across the greater Asheville area have signed a joint letter to Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good demanding retirement of the city’s coal-fired power plant, and several of the business owners gathered to mark the signing at an Asheville Beyond Coal reception Thursday evening.

Along with calling for a transition away from coal, the letter calls for increased investment in a clean energy future for “the health of our local economy, our community, and our planet.”

Among the signers are well-known local businesses, including Cúrate, Blue Ridge Biofuels, the Asheville Grown Business Alliance, Katuah Market, Black Mountain Yoga, Blue Moon Water and Sundance Power Systems. Many of these businesses have incorporated best practices for sustainability into their business model.

“This is a wakeup call to Duke Energy from small business owners, who are the heart and soul of Asheville’s economy” said Dayna Reggero of Accelerating Appalachia, a local business accelerator based in Asheville.

“Burning coal is a dirty, polluting form of generating electricity that is harmful to our air, water and health, and using it to power our city doesn’t match with our community’s values of healthy living,” said Medea Galligan, owner of Medea’s Espresso and Juice Bar, which is located in the vicinity of the power plant. “We are on a path to become a green city, but the coal plant here is the largest source of climate-disrupting carbon pollution in Western North Carolina. I would like to see our community powered by clean energy instead.”

Duke Energy’s Asheville-area coal plant is the largest source of climate-disrupting carbon pollution in Western North Carolina. Years of data confirm that toxic pollution is leaking from its coal ash pits into both the river and groundwater. This plant is the the largest industrial source of air pollution in Western North Carolina as well.

In October 2013, the Asheville City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on Duke Energy to responsibly retire the coal plant and transition to cleaner forms of energy.

The Asheville Beyond Coal reception for the businesses included a special cocktail menu at Sovereign Remedies in downtown Asheville. Drinks crafted especially for the evening with names like “Hazy Day,” “Duke’s Up” and a “Coal Ash Martini” were on tap for the event.